TCU men’s basketball defeats Providence in Damion Baugh’s season debut

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Led by guard Damion Baugh (10), TCU basketball celebrates its win over No. 19 LSU at Schollmaier Arena on Jan. 29, 2022. (Esau Rodriguez Olvera/Head Staff Photographer)

By Sederick Oliver, Executive Editor, Image Magazine

Emotions were at an all-time high.

TCU men’s basketball defeated the reigning Big East champions, Providence Friars, 75-62 on Wednesday night at the Ed & Rae Schollmaier Arena to improve to 6-1 on the season.

However, the emotions weren’t due to the victory or the opponent the Frogs faced.

After serving a six-game suspension placed by the NCAA, senior guard Damion Baugh returned to action and the fans of Schollmaier showed their appreciation.

“It felt great, everyone cheering loud,” said Baugh. “Everyone said I’m out of jail, and I’m not trying to go back.”

Baugh’s absence was felt as head coach Jamie Dixon constantly experimented with the rotations, culminating in six different starting lineups for the Frogs’ first six games.

From the moment Baugh’s name was announced in the starting lineup, the crowd erupted in what felt like a roar mixed with excitement and frustration. The excitement came from finally having one of the team’s best players back on the court, and the frustration was due to not being able to see the Frogs in full-force until seven games in.

“He’s obviously an all-league type of guy, it was a unique situation because you have a guy that’s practicing and playing, but not playing the game,” said Dixon.

Alongside Baugh, the starters included the usuals: junior guard Mike Miles Jr., redshirt senior forward Chuck O’Bannon Jr., senior forward Emanuel Miller, and sophomore big-man Eddie Lampkin Jr.

Miller also made a return after missing the last two games during the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida due to a back injury.

One minute into the game, it became very apparent how different the crowd was.

After a solid first defensive possession, Baugh found O’Bannon Jr. in transition for a dunk that leveled the arena.

There was 19:22 left to go in the first half, yet the cheers rivaled that of a game-winner or a championship win.

This is what Baugh means to TCU.

His passion oozed as he showcased palpable emotion on the court. This was especially highlighted with his celebratory “too little” or “rock the ball” taunts each time he scored.

The Friars, with a little help from TCU, were able to weather the emotional storm and fight back to make a respectable game.

The first half was marred by foul trouble as the Frogs sent Providence to the line twice as many times as they were able to go.

However, after a crucial buzzer-beating three-pointer by O’Bannon Jr., TCU went into halftime with momentum and a 38-33 lead.

As seen through the team’s first seven games, TCU came into the second half with a fresh defensive focus that allowed them to stretch its lead to as much as 18.

Despite Baugh’s presence overshadowing the story of the game, fan-favorite Lampkin Jr. was the star as he controlled the paint with a season-high of 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting and 12 rebounds.

When asked what led to his best game of the season, Lampkin Jr. attributes his on-court rapport with Baugh as a major reason.

“I was happy to get DB [Damion Baugh] back because I know he has a good feel for me, and that’s what me and him do off the ball screens, and on the high-low,” said Lampkin Jr.

“So I know he’s always going to look down for me and that’s what we did today… he trusted me.”

Lampkin Jr. was joined by the rest of the starters and junior guard Micah Peavy in double-figure scoring, showcasing a well-rounded team effort.

TCU’s shooting also continued its upward trajectory as they were able to knock down 6-for-12 from three point land.

UP NEXT

Now with their full roster available, TCU looks to continue to build camaraderie and chemistry on the court as they take on Jackson State on Dec. 6 at the Schollmaier Arena.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.