By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
TCU moved to 4-1 on the young season with a 59-48 win over Cal on Friday night, in the semifinals of the Emerald Coast Classic. The Frogs won despite shooting below 40% from the floor, below 20% from three, and below 60% from the free throw line.
Mike Miles Jr. returned to action after missing two games with a foot injury and led the Frogs in scoring with 23 points on the night. The junior guard didn’t start, but came off the bench to provide the Frogs with a major spark, scoring 17 points in the second half to power the Frogs to a win.
The Frogs were not at full strength, though, as Emanuel Miller did not play on Friday night as he deals with a back issue. Miller is expected to play Saturday against Iowa. Eddie Lampkin also started the game on the bench, as he too works through a back injury. Head coach Jamie Dixon has had to adjust his rotations on an almost-nightly basis through the first two weeks of the season, as Miles, Miller, and Damion Baugh have all missed games.
“It’s a challenge, it’s exciting,” Dixon said. “I don’t recommend it.”
TCU has used a different starting lineup in all five games this season.
Micah Peavy and Rondel Walker both added eight points, while Peavy also added a team-high nine rebounds.
The Frogs won on Friday night despite Cal shooting better from the floor (41% to 39.3%), from three point range (30.8% to 17.6%), and from the free throw line (66.7% to 52.2%).
The difference? TCU turned the ball over just seven times, compared to 19 for the Golden Bears. Those 19 turnovers led to 17 points for the Frogs, and helped TCU overcome more than 10 minutes of scoreless basketball on the night.
TCU had two stretches of five-plus minutes of game time without a basket, but stout defense and timely baskets from Miles kept the Frogs in front.
Texas transfer Devin Askew led the Golden Bears with 12 points, but TCU clamped down on Askew throughout the game. Askew managed just nine shots on the night, as the Frogs held Cal’s leading scorer to his lowest points total of the season.
The Frogs once again struggled mightily from three point range, making just three of their 17 attempts from long range. On the season, TCU is shooting just 24.3% from three point range. The Frogs were one of the worst shooting teams in the country from three a season ago, and the early returns this season suggest that it will still be a weakness for TCU.
Defensively, though, TCU put together one of their best performances on the young season. Chuck O’Bannon blocked multiple shots and eight different Frogs came away with a steal as they held Cal to their lowest offensive output of the season. Cal hadn’t scored fewer than 54 points in a game this season.
TCU now heads to the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic where they’ll face No. 25 Iowa. The game will tip off at 6:00 p.m. Central Time on CBS Sports Network.
Jamie Plunkett, firstname.lastname@example.org