Nov. 28, 2012
FORT WORTH -- TCU returns home this week for a two-game homestand that opens with a Thursday matchup against Southern Utah at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Tip-off for the contest, which will be televised live by FOX Sports Southwest, is set for 7 p.m.
TCU brings a 5-2 overall record into Thursday’s matchup after splitting a pair of games at the South Padre Island Invitational during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend against Northwestern (L, 31-55) and UAB (W, 76-73). The Frogs will look to remain strong at home, as the squad is 4-1 this season at the DMC and 18-4 dating back to the start of the 2011-12 campaign.
The meeting between the Frogs and Thunderbirds will be the first in the all-time series. TCU head coach Trent Johnson holds close ties to the Southern Utah staff, as first-year Thunderbird coach Nick Robinson played for him at Stanford (2004-05) before serving on Johnson’s administrative and coaching staffs with both the Cardinal (2006-08) and LSU (2009-12). SUU assistant coach Todd Okeson also played for Johnson for two years at Nevada and was the starting point guard on the Wolf Pack’s 2004 NCAA Sweet 16 squad.
Thursday’s contest will be televised by FOX Sports Southwest (DirecTV 676; Dish 437) with the veteran Frog radio tandem of Brian Estridge (play-by-play) and John Denton (analyst) calling the action on TV. Jeff Williams (pxp) and former Horned Frog Herb Stephens (analyst) will fill in on the TCU-IMG Sports Network radio broadcast, which will air live in Metroplex on both 1460 AM KCLE and 88.7 FM KTCU.
Live stats will be available for free via GameTracker at GoFrogs.com, while the radio broadcast is also available online for FrogVision subscribers.
FROG QUICK NOTES
* TCU will look to improve to 6-2 for the third straight season.
* SUU’s Nick Robinson is one of five current NCAA D-1 head coaches who have served stints as assistants under Frog head man Trent Johnson.
* TCU has outshot six of seven opponents this season.
* TCU has earned second-half comebacks in four of its five victories.
* TCU ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 9 in the NCAA in scoring defense (52.7 ppg). The squad is No. 50 in the NCAA in field-goal defense (37.5%).
* TCU has allowed fewer than 50 points four times in its seven games. Its four previous efforts allowing fewer than 50 stretched back over 122 games to 2008.
* Kyan Anderson ranks among the Big 12 leaders in minutes played (No. 7), assist/turnover ratio (No. 8), assists (No. 9), steals (No. 9), scoring (T-No. 14) and 3-pointers (No. 15).
* Anderson’s 35 points scored vs. UAB (Nov. 24) rank as the top performance in the Big 12 this season and is tied for No. 7 among all players nationally.
* Devonta Abron has averaged 10.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg with a 73.9% shooting rate over the last four outings after opening the season with figures of 3.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 33.3% in the first three contests.
* Garlon Green is TCU’s active leader in points (890), rebounds (378), 3-pointers (95), games played (104) and starts (59).
SCOUTING SOUTHERN UTAH
Southern Utah, a member of the Big Sky Conference, enters Thursday’s game with a 1-4 overall record following its first win of the season recorded Nov. 21 vs. Carroll College. The squad opened the year with four losses, at Gonzaga (103-65), vs. Wisconsin Green Bay (66-54), vs. Cal State Fullerton (112-69) and at Nevada (79-61).
First-year head coach Nick Robinson, a former standout player at Stanford who was recruited by Trent Johnson when he was a Cardinal assistant, leads the Thunderbirds. Following his playing career, Robinson served on Johnson’s coaching staffs at both Stanford and LSU. He is one of five current NCAA head coaches who were one-time assistants under Johnson.
Senior forward Jackson Stevenett leads all Thunderbirds this season in both scoring average (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg). He is shooting 48.8% from the field overall and 90.5% at the charity stripe. Fellow senior guard Damon Heuir (11.4 ppg) also averages double figures in points and is the team’s top assist man (2.6 apg).
As a team, SUU averages 63.4 ppg but has been outscored by an average margin of 20.2 ppg. The squad has been winning the rebounding battles (+0.4 rpg) but has also turned the ball over at a high rate of 21.8 tpg.
ANDERSON LEADS OFFENSIVE ATTACK
Kyan Anderson has continued to progress in his second year on the Frogs’ roster after posting one of the best campaigns for a TCU freshman in recent memory last season.
* Anderson helped TCU escape from a recent offensive slump vs. UAB, scoring a career-high 35 points on 13-of-20 shooting during TCU’s 76-73 victory. The effort earned him a spot on the South Padre Island Invitational All-Tournament Team.
* The performance marked the most points by a TCU player since Kevin Langford totaled 36 vs. Wyoming on Jan. 21, 2008.
* The 35 points also rank as the top performance in the Big 12 this season and are tied for No. 7 among all players nationally.
* Anderson is among the Big 12 leaders in minutes played (No. 7), assist/turnover ratio (No. 8), assists (No. 9), steals (No. 9), scoring (T-No. 14) and 3-pointers (No. 15).
* Anderson has turned into a dangerous long-range weapon for TCU since the middle of his freshman season. He is shooting 40.7% (37-of-91) from beyond the arc over the last 25 games dating back to last year.
* Anderson was named Mountain West Freshman of the Year in 2012 after leading all MW freshmen in scoring average (9.8 ppg), assists (3.07 apg), assist/turnover ratio (1.48) and minutes (34.64 mpg) during league action.
* Anderson’s honor made him the first Frog freshman of the year since Damion Walker earned the Southwest Conference award in 1996.
* Anderson’s 22 starts were the most for a TCU freshman since Femi Ibikunle totaled 28 in 2003-04, while his 90 assists were the most since Corey Santee’s 180 in 2001-02.
ABRON HAS ARRIVED
Following a slow start to his TCU career, Devonta Abron has kicked his game into high gear since the Nov. 18 home win over Prairie View A&M.
* Abron is averaging 10.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg with a 73.9% shooting rate over the last four outings after opening the season with figures of 3.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 33.3% in the first three contests.
* Abron has scored in double figures in three of the four games with no fewer than six boards in each contest. In TCU’s latest win over UAB, he totaled seven points and six boards despite playing only 11 minutes due to foul trouble.
* Abron has started each of the last three games.
* Included among the current stretch was Abron’s first double-double featuring a career-high-tying 13 points and 12 rebounds vs. Navy.
* Abron has done most of his offensive damage in the second half of games. He is averaging 5.1 points and shooting 71.4% after halftime compared to figures of 2.1 points and 42.9% prior to intermission.
* Abron is no stranger to competition. He transferred to TCU this past offseason after making 22 starts as a true freshman for Arkansas in 2011-12. He led the Razorbacks in rebounding for the season.
* A heralded recruit in high school, Abron was a Parade All-American as a senior at Dallas’ Seagoville High School.