Feb. 4, 2003
The TCU Horned Frogs (7-12, 1-6 C-USA) look to right the ship in the Land of the Buccaneers on Tuesday night when TCU plays South Florida (10-8, 3-4) at 7:00 p.m. (ET). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Net Florida and on satellite coordinates AMC 6-Transponder 22. TCU has lost three straight games and seven of their last eight contests. Combined, however, those seven losses have been by just 55 points, 7.9 per game. TCU dropped both decisions to the Bulls last year, which includes a 117-108 loss in Tampa in the highest scoring game in Conference USA history. This game marks the midway point of the conference season for both teams.
THE FIRST YEAR OF NEIL
This is the first year of the Neil Dougherty coaching era at TCU. The Horned Frog head man is now 7-12 all time. TCU is one of 43 Division I schools to have a new head coach for the 2002-03 season. Dougherty is the 18th head basketball coach in TCU history, and the first African-American. He is one of four new coaches in Conference USA. The other C-USA teams with new head men are: DePaul (Dave Leitao), UAB (Mike Anderson) and Saint Louis (Brad Soderberg).
STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND
Since Dec. 4 , TCU played just six games in Fort Worth, while this is the 10th contest away from home over that span. TCU is in the final game of a seven-game stretch that featured five road contests. The Horned Frogs are 2-8 (.200) away from home this year. TCU has already played 10 road games this season (no neutral sites), the most among all Conference USA teams. Four of TCU's seven league games have come outside the city limits. At home this season TCU is 5-4 (.556). Dating back to the 1994-95 campaign (nine years), the Frogs are 108-29 (.788) in Fort Worth.
SNL: SATURDAY NIGHT LOWS
TCU's shooting percentage of .284 on Saturday night against Houston was the third lowest in school history. The Frogs made just 19-of-67 shots for the game. Prior to haltime, TCU connected on just 6-of-31 shots, and the team's .194 shooting effort was the lowest first-half percentage in school history.
HOW OLD WERE YOU THEN?
When TCU was held to 56 points by Houston on Saturday night, it marked the fewest number of points by the team since a 48-43 loss to Princeton on Dec. 28, 1993, a span of 286 games. Prior to the Houston game, the last time that the Horned Frogs scored fewer than 60 points in a contest came on Feb. 26, 1998, a 57-54 win at Tulsa. Earlier this season, the Horned Frogs had 60 at intermission against Grambling State.
PACK IT UP PACK IT IN, LET ME BEGIN
In Neil Dougherty's first season, the Horned Frogs' attendance has been greatly impacted. TCU averaged 3,988 fans per game last year, but are averaging 4,764 per contest this season. Through the first nine home games of the 2001-02 campaign, TCU drew 3,550 fans a game, which is 1,214 fewer per contest, making the increase at this point 34 percent. TCU has had at least 4,300 patrons in six of the nine home games, a figure reached just twice all of last season. The current attendance average would rank as the ninth-highest since Daniel-Meyer Coliseum opened its doors in the 1961-62 season.
WE HAVE FRIENDLIER RIMS
Through nine home and 10 road games, the Horned Frogs are averaging 83.1 points per game at home versus 75.0 per contest on the road. In addition, road teams visiting Daniel-Meyer Coliseum are scoring more points per game (82.1 per game) than those opponents who have played TCU in their home gyms (80.3 per game).
EIGHTIES IS ENOUGH
TCU is 6-2 (.750) this season when scoring at least 80 points and 1-10 (.091) when being held under the 80-point plateau. The Horned Frogs, currently at 78.8 points per game, have averaged at least 80 points every season since the 1994-95 campaign (eight straight years).
THREES ARE OUR AMIGOS
TCU is 7-3 (.700) when making at least 33 percent of their three-point attempts and 0-9 (.000) when shooting below that mark. This season the Horned Frogs have attempted 422 threes, an average of 22.2 per game. TCU has made 12 three-pointers on three occasions this season. The 39 three-pointers attempted against Houston on Feb. 1 set a new TCU school record.
SLOW OUT OF THE BLOCK
TCU has had a tendency to get off to slow starts this season. Four times this season, the Horned Frogs have allowed opponents to double-digit leads before the Frogs even lit the scoreboard. To the right is a box depicting those starts. TCU has battled back to tie or take the lead at halftime in four of the nine chosen games and has won two of the contests. In the Frogs' last contest, it took TCU 9 minutes and 43 seconds to score. TCU's first basket from the field came at the 9:59 mark.
SHOOTING FROM THE HIP
The Horned Frogs are now 5-3 (.625) when shooting a better percentage than their opponents and 2-9 (.182) when being outshot from the field. TCU is winless (0-5) this season when failing to shoot 40 percent from the floor.
THE BACK COURT'S BACK, ALL RIGHT!
TCU's Backcourt Boys, Junior Blount and Corey Santee, have been in sync, putting up some big numbers through 19 games. The starting tandem is averaging 35.1 points and 7.7 assists per game. The two rank 1-2 on the team in the following categories: points, assists, steals, field goals made, three-point field goals made, three-point percentage and minutes played. The duo has accounted for 44.5 percent of the team's scoring thus far (667 of TCU's 1498 points) and has attempted 43.2 percent of the team's shots (517 of 1198). Against Houston, Blount was held under double digits for the first time in 14 games and just the second time this season. Santee has reached double figures in points in 11 straight games. They are the only teammates among C-USA's top 10 in scoring.
JUNIOR'S BIG FEATS
TCU guard Junior Blount is on pace to become just the seventh player in TCU history to reach the 1,000-point mark playing just two seasons with the Horned Frogs. He currently has 940 points in 50 career games, for a per game scoring average of 18.8. If he continues at that pace and TCU plays nine more games (the minimum possible), he will finish his career with 1,109 points. The other Horned Frogs to reach 1,000 points in a two-year career are: Lee Nailon (1,503), Mike Jones (1,323), Malcolm Johnson (1,272), Marquise Gainous (1,238), Doug Arnold (1,057) and Damion Walker (1,044).
Junior Blount is looking to become just the 14th player in TCU history to lead the team in scoring in back-to-back seasons, and only the fifth in the last 35 years. Lee Nailon was the last to do so in 1997-98 and 1998-99. Just two TCU players have ever led the squad in scoring three straight years (Dick O'Neal 1955-57 and Gary Turner 1964-66). Blount set a C-USA scoring record in 2001-02 when he posted 364 points in league play. For the season he tallied 603 points, making him just the 12th player in school history to score at least 600 points in a single season. He is averaging 17.7 points per game thus far this season after scoring 19.5 per contest last year.
GUARDING THE RECORD BOOKS
Last year Junior Blount led TCU in scoring, marking just the 13th time since the 1923-24 season that the Horned Frogs were led in scoring by a guard (accomplished by 10 different players). This year's scoring title race is between a pair of guards, Blount and Corey Santee.
SANTEE ON A SPREE
Last year, TCU point guard Corey Santee set a TCU freshman record with 180 assists, while also averaging 14.7 points per game. Through 19 games this season, he has topped the 20-point mark a team-high eight times (including four straight), has led the team in scoring six times, and is averaging 17.4 points. He has scored 110 points (22.0 per game) over TCU's last five contests. Santee (6th in scoring, 5th in assists) and National Player of the Year candidates Reece Gaines of Louisville and Dwayne Wade of Marqette are the only players in Conference USA who rank in the league's top 10 in both points and assists.
BINGO IS HIS NAME-O
With a three-pointer at the 14:02 mark of the second half against Washington State, Bingo Merriex became the 25th player in TCU history to post at least 1,000 points in a career. He now has moved into the top 15 on the all-time scoring list (13th) with 1,207 points. Merriex is third on the all-time three-pointers made list (202). In order to reach the top 10 on the Frogs' all-time scoring list, Merriex needs 66 points, which means he must score 7.3 per game. Note: This average is based on the fewest games that TCU could have remaining (9).
SOMETHING TO CHU ON
Houston native and true freshman Chudi Chinweze returned to action on last Wednesday against Tulane after suffering an injury to his left leg (stress fracture) that was sustained during TCU's game against Centenary on Jan. 4. He played solidly in his return, posting 10 points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes of action. However, over the last two games he has just one point and six rebounds. Prior to the injury, Chinweze had come on strong since he moved into the starting lineup in the third game of the season. Over those next nine contests, he posted 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. In the first two games of the year he averaged 4.5 points and 2.0 boards.
Jamal Brown matched a season high with 18 rebounds, while also collecting 15 points, at UAB. He now has five double-doubles this season and 14 for his career. Over his last five games, Brown has averaged 11.8 points and 11.0 rebounds.
FRESH FROG LEGS
Eight players on the Horned Frog roster are averaging at least 15 minutes of action per game in Neil Dougherty's fast-paced style of play. However, just three of those players (Corey Santee, Junior Blount and Bingo Merriex) are seeing more than 22 minutes per game.