TCU will be looking at a mirror image of itself when it squares off against Utah on Wednesday at Dickies Arena, the Horned Frogs’ home away from home, in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Horned Frogs (6-1) return to action after a 71-63 win over Oral Roberts on Thursday. Damion Baugh and Mike Miles scored 13 points each as TCU stayed perfect at home.
TCU led by 17 points in the first half but fell behind in the middle of the second half. The Horned Frogs bounced back with a 12-3 run to take charge with seven minutes to play. But the real difference was defense, as TCU held Oral Roberts to 1-of-8 shooting down the stretch.
“I was really excited about our defense,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said after the win. “We forced turnovers, which we which we needed to do, we did get deflections, we played very hard. We took good shots, we got to shoot it better, but I thought we made a step in that direction.
“We feel like we’ve gotten better the last couple of games.”
TCU has won three straight games after its lone loss to Santa Clara on Nov. 22 and has been getting contributions across the roster as the team begins to jell.
Rebounding and taking care of the ball have been strengths for the Horned Frogs, who rank third nationally in offensive rebounds per game (16.4), 11th in rebounding margin (11.4) and 13th in rebounds per game (43) as of Tuesday. Meanwhile, they’ve committed 10 or fewer turnovers in each of their past two games.
The Utes (6-2) head to Cowtown after a 66-58 win at home over Cal on Sunday. Both Gach led Utah with 19 points. The Utes’ defense did not allow a field goal over the final 4:45 of the game.
“This team, we will do what we need to do,” Utah coach Craig Smith said afterward. “With the injuries we just gotta be able to figure it out. At end of the day, I thought our guys really played well.”
Utah has been good with the ball, too, especially over the past three games. Its 22 combined turnovers across its last three games — the win over Cal and losses to then-No. 20 USC and then-No. 18 Brigham Young — mark the lowest in any three-game span dating to the 1996-97 season, according to STATS.
Lazar Stefanovic was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week on Monday after helping the Utes to a split of their early Pac-12 games.
The two programs have played 20 games all-time, but not since 2011. Utah has captured seven straight in the series and 16 of the 20.
–Field Level Media