TCU remains unbeaten with 68-50 win over McNeese State
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) The wins just keep coming for TCU, the most recent a 68-50 decision over McNeese State on Saturday night.
The Horned Frogs (10-0) are now one of nine remaining unbeaten teams in the nation after Northern Iowa fell in double overtime to VCU. It is their best start in school history. The team, which is receiving votes in the poll, is also on the cusp of its first Top-25 appearance since the 1998-99 season.
As for TCU coach Trent Johnson's take on the potential for history to be made?
''All this ranking stuff means nothing,'' he said. ''The only one who has been there is me and maybe one other assistant. The bottom line is where are you at the end of the year, and where you are when you play someone who is ranked and what your mindset is then.''
The Horned Frogs' last time out was an 80-69 win over Furman on Tuesday, when the Paladins' 51.1 percent field-goal shooting marked just the second time TCU had allowed over 35 percent all year.
''It was a lot better from the last game on the defensive standpoint,'' Johnson said. ''Let's not split hairs here. It's hard to be good all the time. I don't want to go back to the past, but we had a good two days of practice. It's not about getting the message, it's about coming out and being better.''
Kenrich Williams' career-high 13 points paced the Horned Frogs, and Karviar Shepherd provided the power in the post with 12 boards. TCU outrebounded McNeese State 49-32.
TCU distanced itself from the Cowboys on an 11-0 run that lasted 6:23 between the end of the first and start of the second half, taking a 33-20 lead with 18 minutes to play.
Cowboy guard Kevin Hardy had five assists on the night to move past Basketball Hall of Famer Joe Dumars for sixth place on the all-time McNeese State assist record.
McNeese State (4-3) was led by Shaun Johnson, one of three double-figure scorers for the Cowboys, who had 12 points. Desharick Guidry added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Horned Frogs missed each of their first six 3-point attempts until Chauncey Collins drained one from the top of the key with 9: 55 to go in the game. Johnson was not the least bit concerned about that absence behind the arc.
''That's not our emphasis,'' he said. ''We have a size advantage for the most part, and we will take open shots when they are open. Our whole M.O. is that we go inside out. We are not going to get 3 happy.''
TCU also put together a 16-5 run late in the game to go up 65-42, its largest lead of the game. That included back-to-back dunks by Chris Washburn and another slam by Trey Zeigler.
As the holidays near, Johnson made sure he was festive in his postgame press conference.
''All 10-0 means is you have another game and day at practice. I'm a realist here. You know who my guys' biggest fans are? My wife and my family, because if we can go into Christmas with a good feeling, the Johnson family has a good Christmas. The last time they had a really, really good Christmas where their dad or husband relaxed was when we beat Kansas when I was at Nevada (Dec. 21, 2003).''
McNeese State: The Cowboys entered the night having won four of their previous five contests and averaging 80.1 points per game in that span.
TCU: The Horned Frogs' 11 blocks marked the fourth time they have recorded double-digits there this season. They rank second in the Big 12 with 6.1 per game, behind only No. 8 Texas.
McNeese State hosts LSU-Alexandria on Tuesday.
TCU hosts UT-San Antonio on Saturday.