Horned Frogs Shock No. 10 Louisville, 71-46
Feb. 17, 2004
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
FORT WORTH, Texas - TCU coach Neil Dougherty didn't want to talk about the significance of his first win over a Top 25 team. He was just proud of how his team played.
"I don't know if ranked or unranked means as much to me as how our kids performed against a very good Louisville team," Dougherty said. "It was good to see that. It was good for me to see how they enjoyed competing with that team."
But the Horned Frogs didn't just beat No. 10 Louisville on Tuesday night. They embarrassed coach Rick Pitino's struggling Cardinals 71-46.
Corey Santee scored 20 points, including his 3-pointer on the game's opening shot, for the Horned Frogs (10-12, 6-5 Conference USA).
TCU's last win over a ranked team was 102-88 over No. 20 Fresno State two years ago at home when Billy Tubbs was still the coach. The last win over a Top Ten team was 14 years ago against No. 8 Arkansas.
"It's at the top. This is the best win so far for our team," said senior guard Nucleus Smith, who had 17 points.
The Cardinals (17-5, 7-4), with their lowest point total in three seasons under Pitino, lost for the fourth time in five games since a 16-game winning streak.
"It's a product of losing close ones, getting a little discouraged rather than encouraged," Pitino said. "All of the credit has to go to TCU. We have to regroup, get better and start to improve."
Louisville made its first trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex since 1986, when the Cardinals won their last NCAA championship in Dallas.
TCU had gone 0-9 against Top 25 teams under Dougherty, a former assistant to Roy Williams at Kansas. They were outscored by an average margin of 27 points in their other three games this season against ranked teams: Kansas, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati.
Chudi Chinweze added 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Frogs.
Louisville shot a season-low 29 percent (14-of-49) and didn't have a player score in double figures. Larry O'Bannon's nine points were the team high.
Even after shooting just 33 percent (11-of-33) in the first half, TCU led 33-18. The Cardinals shot just 5-of-27 (19 percent) in their lowest-scoring half of the season.
The closest Louisville got in the second half was 40-31 after Alhaji Mohammed had a steal and on the break flipped the ball back to Francisco Garcia for an easy layup that ended a 6-0 run with 15:31 left.
Dougherty called a timeout and told the team to get back to what they were doing.
"We went back out there with a calm that is continuing to grow in our team," Dougherty said. "It's a calm and a confidence that's really good for me to see."
Santee then scored seven straight points - on two free throws, a bank shot after a nice pass from Marcus Shropshire and a 3-pointer. That pushed the lead to 47-31, and the Horned Frogs maintained a double-digit margin the rest of the way.
"This is one of those games where the other team just outplayed you, even when we tried to go on our run and show great emotion," Pitino said. "It was just one of those nights."
TCU students celebrated by rushing the court, though it was a somewhat controlled scene with them streaming from only a couple of areas and meeting at center court.
There was plenty to celebrate.
With its 10th win, TCU surpassed last year's total. And there are still five regular season games and the conference tournament to play.
After Santee's opening shot, Kendall Dartez scored for Louisville. Femi Ibikunle made it 5-2 before both teams missed six straight shots.
The Horned Frogs didn't really stretch the lead until closing the half with a 14-5 run over the final 6½ minutes in which six players scored.
Louisville didn't score inside in the first half, but opened the second half with a 7-2 run that included Luke Whitehead's layup for his only basket and a layup by Dartez.
Santee then had a reverse one-handed layup to end that spurt.