FORT WORTH (AP) — For a half, winless Texas Southern refused to follow the script against undefeated No. 15 TCU. The Tigers just couldn’t keep pace for a whole game.
Consecutive 3-pointers from TCU’s Alex Robinson and Kenrich Williams sparked a second-half surge, giving the Horned Frogs (11-0) some breathing room on their way to a 91-72 win. The victory extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 16 games dating to last season.
“We’ve taken care of business,” said TCU coach Jamie Dixon, now in his second season at his alma mater. “I like our guys. I like our rotation. I like where we’re at. We expect to win. This is what we came here to do.”
JD Miller led TCU with 20 points. Vladimir Brodziansky had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Horned Frogs, who led by just two at halftime.
Texas Southern (0-12) went on a 16-5 run late in the first half, punctuated by Robert Lewis’ 3-pointer with 2:24 left to give the Tigers their first lead since 2-0. But the Horned Frogs closed out the half with a 6-0 run in the final minute, including two free throws by Desmond Bane after the officials put 0.1 seconds back on the clock.
“They threw a defense at us that we weren’t accustomed to – a matchup zone,” Robinson said.
TCU responded in the second half, with back-to-back 3s from Robinson and Williams that led to a 28-10 run and a lead that reached 25 points.
“We can’t have a three- or four-minute lapse like we did tonight and give up a big run,” Texas Southern coach Mike Davis said. “We got nothing in the first five minutes of the second half.”
Trae Jefferson, averaging 22.8 points per game, finished with 29 for Texas Southern. He had 13 points before the break, shooting 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
“He can be pretty much unguardable,” Dixon said.
Robinson, who finished with six points and seven assists, said TCU isn’t taking its winning streak, now tied for the longest in school history, for granted.
“I’ve never been a part of anything like this,” he said. “We still feel like we’re the underdogs. We understand we have a target on our backs, so we play like we have something to prove.”
Texas Southern: The Tigers, who have won four of the last five Southwestern Athletic Conference titles, have played one of the nation’s toughest nonconference schedules. They’ve already lost to Gonzaga, Ohio State, Syracuse, Kansas, Oregon and Baylor — all on the road.
TCU: TCU is one of just four undefeated teams in the country, alongside top-ranked Villanova, No. 3 Arizona State and No. 6 Miami. Entering Monday, the Frogs were second in the nation in field goal shooting and seventh in 3-point shooting.
Texas Southern has played perhaps the nation’s toughest nonconference schedule by design. Davis said it will prepare the Tigers for another run at the SWAC crown. “It’s been great for us,” he said. “We have to embrace obstacles, embrace the struggles. This is not about wins and losses. It’s about getting better.”
RATING THE COMPETITION
In the last two months, Davis has led the Tigers into road games against some of the nation’s most storied teams. Where does TCU rank? “This is a top-10 team,” Davis said of the Frogs. “They are well coached at every position, and you can see their guys understand the system.”
Texas Southern concludes its 13-game road adventure with a visit to BYU on Saturday. The Tigers then play three straight conference games at home against Southern, Alcorn State and Prairie View A&M, beginning Jan. 1. They have the nation’s third-longest home winning streak.
The Horned Frogs wrap up their nonconference schedule with a home game Friday against William and Mary and then take eight days off before opening Big 12 play in Fort Worth against Oklahoma on Dec. 30.
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