Feb. 4, 2005
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Setting the Scene
The TCU Horned Frogs (13-9, 3-5 C-USA) look to snap a season-long four-game losing streak on Saturday in a rare afternoon contest when the squad takes on the East Carolina Pirates (7-14, 2-7) at 2 p.m. TCU is 10-2 at home this year, while East Carolina is 0-8 on the road. This is the start of a three-game homestand for the Frogs, who have played three of their last four outside Fort Worth. The teams have met twice since joining Conference USA and the two games have been determined by a total of just eight points. TCU has held five of its last six and seven of its last nine opponents to under 65 points, but are averaging just 63.4 points in C-USA play. TCU is hoping to avoid its first five-game losing skid since the 2003 league season.
TCU and East Carolina are knotted 2 games to 2 in the all-time series, with the Horned Frogs taking the two middle games in the series and East Carolina grabbing the bookends. The Pirates earned a 75-70 victory last year in Greenville, N.C. The two teams have played just twice since becoming Conference USA partners in the 2002 season and have split the meetings. TCU is a perfect 2-0 all time against ECU at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, including a 66-63 triumph in 2002.
TCU Individuals vs. East Carolina
Just two TCU players, Corey Santee and Corey Valsin, have ever faced the East Carolina Pirates more than once in their careers. Santee has averaged 16.5 points and 5.5 assists in his two games against ECU, while Valsin has posted 7.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game over two outings. Marcus Shropshire poured in 16 points and added six assists in last year's clash.
The Most Recent Meeting vs. East Carolina
Last year, the Pirates earned a tough 75-70 victory in Greenville, N.C. East Carolina had a 12-point halftime advantage but had to hang on for the win. East Carolina, who led wire-to-wire, outrebounded TCU 43-29. Corey Santee led a quartet of Frog double-figure scorers with 18 points. Marcus Shropshire (16), Nucleus Smith (13) and Chudi Chinweze (12) joined Santee offensively, as the group accounted for all but 11 of the team's points. Femi Ibikunle did not start for the only time in his career due to an abcessed tooth.
Chicago Was Almost Our Kind of Town
TCU dropped a heartbreaking 64-62 decision to host DePaul on Tuesday night in the Windy City. The victory moved the Blue Demons to 11-1 at home this season. With 30 seconds left and DePaul up 63-62, TCU had a chance to take the lead, but DePaul's Sammy Mejia blocked Corey Santee's 15-footer. At the other end, Quemont Greer made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 64-62. On the ensuing possession, TCU's Marcus Shropshire was short off the front iron on a 3-point attempt with four seconds left in the game. After a jump ball, the Horned Frogs had 1.1 seconds left to try again, but an inbounds pass went off Aaron Curtis' leg out of bounds, giving DePaul the ball and the win. DePaul's win was its sixth in seven games, while TCU lost its fourth in a row. Shropshire scored 17 points and Curtis added 13 points for the visitors.
Guess Who's Back, Back, Back
TCU is beginning a three-game homestand today against East Carolina. TCU has not played consecutive home games since Dec. 28 and Jan. 3. This is the longest conference homestand of the season for TCU, who had four of its first six and five of its first eight league games on the road. Five of the Frogs' next seven games are in the friendly confines of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
TCU In Tight Games
TCU is 3-5 in games decided by fewer than 10 points this season and has lost three straight games determined by single digits. The Horned Frogs have had three consecutive tough road losses, falling by eight points at Saint Louis, seven at Charlotte and just two at DePaul. Four of TCU's last five games have been determined by fewer than 10 points after none of the previous 10 games was a single-digit contest.
If You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It
TCU, 1-4 this year in league road matchups, is now 6-23 (.207) all time in Conference USA road contests since joining the league in 2002. TCU's victories are over UAB and Tulane in 2002; Houston, Marquette and USF in 2004; and Memphis in 2005. TCU has had just one .500 or better league road record in the past 12 seasons, owning a 30-64 record (.319) over that time. TCU's five road matchups in the league all have been against 2004 postseason tournament teams. Of TCU's first five C-USA road games, four of the teams shared the league's regular season title last year.
What a Stretch
The Horned Frogs recently completed a seven-game road stretch that rivals any in the country in terms of difficulty. Since Dec. 9, the Frogs have played at Kansas, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Memphis, Saint Louis, Charlotte and DePaul. Six of the seven schools made the NCAA Tournament last year, while Saint Louis reached the NIT. Those seven teams are currently a combined 95-45 (.679) overall and 66-16 (.805) at home this season.
Something Smells Foul
In the past three games, TCU has averaged just 19.7 free throw attempts per game as opposed to opponents getting an average of 31.3 tries from the charity stripe. The Horned Frogs have been whistled for 75 fouls over that time (25.0 per game) compared to just 57 for opponents (19.0 per game).
Needing Some Shots to Drop
TCU has not shot the ball very well in Conference USA play thus far, as TCU is shooting just 37.8 percent (165-for-436) from the floor and 34.3 percent (61-for-178) from three-point range. As a result, the Horned Frogs are averaging just 63.4 points per game in league play after posting 76.6 per nonleague contest. TCU's 28.9 percent shooting effort against Memphis on Saturday was the third lowest single-game percentage in school history.