FORT WALTON, FL (AP) — Vladimir Brodziansky scored 19 points and a swarming TCU defense forced 26 turnovers, and the Horned Frogs cruised to a 99-66 win against overmatched Omaha on Monday night in the Emerald Coast Classic.
TCU (4-0) overcame the absence of starting guard Alex Robinson, who sat out with a bone bruise in his foot suffered Wednesday against South Dakota.
Robinson, who led the Frogs in assists, had started the first three games of the season, plus the final four games of the 2016-17 season, which ended with an NIT title. It’s uncertain if Robinson will be back in the lineup Friday against New Mexico.
Starting in his place was sophomore guard Jaylen Fisher, who finished with nine points and a team-high nine assists. Desmond Bane had 14 points, while Kenrich Williams chipped in 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.
“It was just a good performance all around,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said.
Junior guard Zach Jackson led the Mavericks (0-5) with 17 points.
The Frogs opened with a 10-2 run, eventually building a lead that reached 24 points in the first half. That lead would extend to 42 points late in the game.
Omaha had been averaging 17 turnovers through its first four games and again had trouble managing pressure. The Frogs had eight steals and forced 13 Omaha turnovers on their way to a 50-28 halftime lead.
“It hit us fast. We were in quicksand from the get-go,” said Omaha coach Derrin Hansen. “My biggest disappointment in the first half was that we didn’t control the ball very well.”
Overall, TCU forced 26 turnovers and finished with 13 steals, both season-highs. Though happy with the defensive effort, Dixon said he was displeased that Omaha still shot 51 percent from the field.
“We didn’t have that aggressive edge at the end,” Dixon said. “We gave up too many layups. You can see where the level of intensity declines when we had a 40-point lead.”
Omaha: The Mavericks already have dropped games to bigger-named foes such as Oklahoma, New Mexico and No. 18 Louisville. They’ll be hard-pressed to match last year’s 7-6 non-conference record.
TCU: Dating back to last season’s NIT championship run, the Frogs have won nine straight games. Their 4-0 start isn’t surprising for a team that returned nearly 80 percent of its scoring and rebounding leaders from a season ago.
TCU won the turnover battle 26-12, but Frogs coach Jamie Dixon wanted a wider discrepancy. His goal for TCU is 10 turnovers or fewer per game. TCU scored 36 points off of turnovers, compared to 10 for Omaha.
Eight TCU players were on the court for at least 18 minutes apiece and five scored in double figures. The TCU bench outscored the Omaha bench 36-21.
Omaha travels to Destin, Florida for the conclusion of the Emerald Coast Classic, with games against Tennessee Tech on Friday and either Jackson State or Maryland Eastern Shore on Saturday.
TCU is also headed to Destin for the Emerald Coast Classic, playing New Mexico on Friday night and either Maryland or St. Bonaventure on Saturday.
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