It wasn’t as bad as last year, but Lubbock remains an unfavorable destination for TCU basketball.
No. 18 Texas Tech showed why it’s the Big 12’s top defensive team in a dominant 69-49 victory over TCU on Tuesday night at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock.
TCU had no answer for Tech’s defense, or a way to slow down junior guard Kyler Edwards, who had a game- and season-high 20 points. Edwards, who started his high school career at Arlington Bowie, made 4 of 5 3-pointers on the night.
“We recruited him. We were well aware of him,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “He obviously had a big game tonight. He’s played a lot of minutes, but hasn’t been scoring at this clip but you could hit those shots. Wide-open shots.”
The Red Raiders (16-8, 8-7 Big 12) have now won six of the last seven meetings, including all of the games in Lubbock since Dixon took over at TCU five years ago. Tech handed Dixon his worst loss a season ago, rolling to an 88-42 victory. The 46-point loss was TCU’s worst in 42 years.
The Frogs (12-11, 5-9 Big 12) have now lost four of their last five and remain winless against ranked opponents. They are 0-7 so far this season, but will have two more chances this week as they travel to No. 6 West Virginia on Thursday and host No. 15 Texas on Sunday.
The Red Raiders dominated from the start, winning the battle on the boards 33-28 and limiting the Frogs to just 4 of 17 from deep. Tech entered the game with the league’s best defense allowing 63.2 points per game, which will improve following Tuesday’s performance.
The 49 points matched the second-fewest by TCU this season, along with a 49-point total in a home loss to Baylor on Jan. 9. The Frogs’ season low came in an 82-46 loss at Oklahoma on Jan. 12.
“We weren’t good offensively,” Dixon said. “We knew about them loading up and being in the paint and you’ve got to get paint touches but then you’ve got to do things and make decisions at the end of it. Our decision making was really bad. We’ve battled with execution all year.
“We got what we deserved. I’m disappointed. I think our guys are very disappointed too.”
TCU was led by junior guard RJ Nembhard’s 10 points.
Ironically, given the final score, TCU actually started strong and looked like it would give Tech a run for its money. The Frogs had an early 8-4 lead in the first five minutes, but that was short-lived.
Tech responded with an 11-2 run over the next five minutes that ended with 3-pointers by Edwards and Terrence Shannon, Jr. and a 15-10 lead.
The Red Raiders never trailed after that and pulled away late in the first half, closing on a 9-0 run for a 36-22 lead at halftime. TCU made just one basket from the field — a 3-pointer by Chuck O’Bannon Jr. — in the final four-plus minutes.
The Frogs were just 2 of 9 from deep and were outrebounded 19-12 in the opening half. It was the third time they scored 22 or fewer points along with games at OU (22) and at KU (19).
Things didn’t get better in the second half.
Tech had another 9-0 run, extending its lead to 51-29 with 11 minutes left. The Red Raiders scored in that stretch off a TCU turnover as well as a second-chance opportunity. The Frogs, meanwhile, endured a five-plus minute scoring drought.
TCU has a quick turnaround as it travels to No. 6 West Virginia on Thursday night. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. in Morgantown.
“We’ve got to be better than this and I certainly believe we will be on Thursday,” Dixon said. “That’s what I told our guys — I know we can be better than this.”