Jamie Dixon wins coaching debut with alma mater TCU, 82-64
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Jamie Dixon didn't even notice that he wasn't introduced before his coaching debut at his alma mater, TCU.
He was a little caught up in the ''fun, weird, strange, different,'' as he called it in coming back to the school he helped lead as a player to its most recent NCAA Tournament win almost 30 years ago.
And before an 82-64 win over the NAIA's St. Thomas on Friday night, Dixon was coming to grips with the fact that he really had left Pittsburgh , where he was head coach the past 13 seasons and on the staff for 17.
''Seventeen years is a long time, and you only have one way,'' Dixon said. ''It just feels so different. It's home, but the arena's so different. I think walking in before was probably the time it really hit me. I think that was it, walking in and walking by the football stadium and walking through here.''
All that emotion, and no introduction? No welcome home?
''Maybe that's a tradition here,'' Dixon said as he chuckled. ''You guys are laughing. Maybe that's a tradition here. They don't introduce the coach. I don't know. Talk to (athletic director Chris) Del Conte. He's in charge of that. I think he wanted to introduce it himself.''
Alex Robinson, a Texas A&M transfer making his debut for the Horned Frogs, led them with 16 points. Karviar Shepherd, one of the holdovers from former coach Trent Johnson's staff, had 14 points and six rebounds.
Freshman point guard Jaylen Fisher, the top recruit in Dixon's first class, finished with 13 points, seven assists, four steals and a blocked shot to help the Horned Frogs pull away in the second half.
''This is an exciting year,'' Shepherd said. ''New coaches, (Dixon) coming back, alumni, we've got new guys coming in, freshmen. Every year's exciting to me, and this year's no different.''
The Celts (0-4) stayed close until the closing minutes of the first half, which ended with a spinning, buzzer-beating layup from Fisher for a 45-37 lead.
Josh Bearden scored 14 points to lead St. Thomas.
DOUBLE THE FUN
TCU had six players in double figures. Freshman Desmond Bane and Brandon Parrish, another senior holdover, had 12 apiece. JD Miller had 10 points and seven rebounds, which matched St. Thomas' Paris Marquez for the game high.
Shepherd's 14 points came on just six shots, with four makes, and he was 5 of 6 on free throws. Robinson was 7 of 11 from the field and made all five attempts inside the 3-point line.
More than half of St. Thomas' field goal attempts were from 3-point range. The Celts were 9 of 29 from beyond the arc and 23 of 53 overall.
St. Thomas: It was a decent showing for second-year coach Anthony Medina's team. The Celts were within four (41-37) as late as the 1:16 mark of the first half before fading.
TCU: Fisher's debut was a positive for Dixon. The 6-foot-2 floor leader from suburban Memphis had committed to UNLV before coach Dave Rice was fired last April. Former Rebels assistant Ryan Miller, who is on Dixon's staff, had recruited him. The capper on his strong all-around debut was a block from behind when Bearden was going up for a wide-open layup or dunk.
St. Thomas: The Celts will return to Fort Worth to face Texas Wesleyan on Wednesday. There are some other upper-division challenges coming, including Southern on Thanksgiving Day.
TCU: The Horned Frogs have three more home games they should win against Alabama State, Jacksonville State and Illinois State before playing at UNLV on Nov. 25. TCU will play either Western Kentucky or Washington the next day in Las Vegas.