FORT WORTH (AP) – TCU head coach Trent Johnson said his team is about to see his ugly side. And it was a pretty abysmal 0 for 9 shooting start in the Horned Frogs’ game against the University of Houston on Tuesday night that has brought it out.
The Cougars snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the Horned Frogs 54-48, using a dominate performance in the paint to snap TCU’s own two-game winning streak.
“For that to happen at home, for us to get out rebounded at home and play like this in front of our people at home, it really bothers me,” said Johnson, who did not make players available to the media after the game. “It’s more than winning or losing; it’s what reared its ugly head. It’s going to be dealt with.
“Now they’re going to see the ugly side of Coach Johnson.”
Led by TaShawn Thomas’ 19 points and 12 rebounds, the Cougars (6-2) nearly doubled up on the Horned Frogs (6-3) in the paint, outscoring TCU 32-18. Houston also turned 14 TCU turnovers into 15 points. Joseph Young was the only other player to score in double figures for Houston, and he finished with 12 points.
Mostly because of the play of Adrick McKinney off the bench, the Horned Frogs kept the nation’s 19th-best scoring offense in check, but still couldn’t keep up. McKinney had a career-high 20 rebounds; TCU had a total of 39 rebounds. He also had 10 points. Kyan Anderson led TCU with 20 points. TCU was the third-best team in the NCAA in scoring defense going into the game, giving up just 52.6 points per game.
“I felt like Adrick kept us in the game because he played hard and he competed,” Johnson said. “He had 20 rebounds and he probably should have had 30 with as many shots as we missed.”
Houston, which came into the game averaging 81 points per game — 19th-best in the NCAA — was held to its season low in points. But TCU shot just 33.3 percent, including 5 of 18 from 3-point range and 5 of 13 from the foul line.
The 0 for 9 start certainly didn’t help matters since the Horned Frogs were playing catch-up from the get-go. TCU didn’t score for the first 6 1/2 minutes until McKinney hit one of two free throw attempts to make it 10-1 Houston. TCU hit its first field goal at the 12:08 mark when Nate Butler Lind knocked down a jumper. By then, the Cougars were already up 12-3.
The Cougars led by as many as 11 twice in the first half. TCU went on a 10-3 run midway through the first half, scoring eight-straight during one 2-minute stretch, to keep the game in check, but the Cougars still led 27-19 at the half.
“I can deal with missed shots because, like I told the players, we are going to have our deficiencies and inability to score and shoot,” Johnson said. “What I can’t deal with is how we started this game because obviously there were guys playing for themselves. There was some selfishness, and I was caught off guard. I don’t want to take anything away from Houston . they had more resiliency and more toughness, and they executed their stuff at crucial times.”
TCU started the second half with a 3-pointer by Anderson to get within five. Houston quickly brought its lead back up to double-digits, and it teetered between 10 and 12 points much of the half.
Anderson made two free throws to bring the Horned Frogs within 50-43 with 53 seconds to play, but then they missed three shots on their next possession, and a late surge by Anderson wasn’t enough for TCU.
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