Nov. 21, 2012
FORT WORTH - TCU takes to the road for the first time this weekend when it faces Northwestern on Friday in a post-Thanksgiving matchup at the South Padre Island Invitational. Tip-off for the contest is set for 7:30 p.m at the South Padre Island Convention Centre.
Following Friday's contest, the Horned Frogs will face either Illinois State or UAB on Saturday at 4 or 7 p.m. That game will be televised live by CBS Sports Network.
The Frogs are playing in an early-season tournament for the third consecutive season. Last year, the squad played in the Paradise Jam on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. TCU played in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic the previous season in Springfield, Mass.
TCU will take a 4-1 record to South Padre Island, its best start since the 2007-08 season. A win against Northwestern would give the Frogs their first 5-1 start since 1998, when the squad posted the same opening record.
The meeting with the Wildcats will be the third all-time for the Frogs. TCU is 2-0 so far against NU. This will be the second straight season that TCU has faced a Big Ten opponent following last season's home loss to Nebraska. The Frogs have played a Big Ten team only four times overall since 1996.
Friday's contest will not be televised. Radio coverage will be provided by the TCU-IMG Sports Network on both 1460 AM KCLE and 88.7 FM KTCU featuring Brian Estridge (play-by-play) and John Denton (analyst). 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
* A victory would give TCU its first 5-1 start since 1998-99.
* Trent Johnson is off to the best start for a new TCU head since Mike Brumbelow went 6-1 in 1937.
* TCU has outshot each of its five opponents this season.
* TCU has had five different leading scorers in its five games.
* TCU has posted second-half comebacks in three of its four victories.
* TCU ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 6 in the NCAA in scoring defense (48.2 ppg). The squad is No. 26 in the NCAA in field-goal defense (34.9%).
* TCU has allowed fewer than 50 points four times in its five games. Its four previous efforts allowing fewer than 50 stretched back over 122 games to 2008.
* TCU has won consecutive games scoring fewer than 50 points for the first time since 1951 vs. Texas A&M (30-27) and vs. Texas (49-34).
* Kyan Anderson has made at least one 3-pointer in seven straight games dating back to last season.
* Jarvis Ray has scored a team-best 51 points after entering the season with only 62 career points in 39 games.
* Garlon Green is TCU's active leader in points (872), rebounds (372), 3-pointers (95), games played (102) and starts (57).
Northwestern enters Friday's matchup with a perfect 4-0 record following home wins over Texas Southern (79-49), Mississippi Valley State (81-68), Fairleigh Dickinson (80-53) and Delaware State (69-50). The squad owns a 19-game winning streak in contests played in the month of November, which ranks third-best in the nation.
Thirteenth-year head coach Bill Carmody leads a squad that returns four starters from last year's edition that posted a 19-14 overall record and reached the second round of the NIT. Senior guard/forward Drew Crawford was named to the 2012 All-Big Ten Third Team.
Senior guard Reggie Hearn leads the Wildcats this season in scoring average (14.5 ppg) and is shooting 63.2% from 3-point range. Crawford (12.5 ppg) and senior forward Jared Swopshire (10.5 ppg) also average double figures. Swopshire and freshman center Alex Olah pace the team in rebounding with identical marks of 6.0 rpg, while sophomore guard Dave Sobolewski (6.3 apg) is NU's top assist man. Among the other Wildcat players is former TCU forward Nikola Cerina, who played for the Frogs from 2009-11 before electing to transfer to NU. Cerina is not expected to play Friday due to injury.
As a team, Northwestern has outscored its opponents by an average of 22.3 ppg while also dominating the glass to the tune of a +10.8 average rebounding margin. The squad has shot very well from outside, featuring a 43.5% 3-point rate, and its 23.5 assist average leads the nation.
THE SERIES: TCU VS. NORTHWESTERN
TCU has won both previous meetings against Northwestern. The Frogs took the last matchup by a 66-64 score on Dec. 28, 1987 at the Far West Classic in Portland, Ore. The first meeting resulted in a 93-78 Frog victory on Dec. 29, 1971 at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.
LAST TIME OUT: TCU 47, NAVY 45
TCU kept things exciting once again Tuesday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, overcoming another second-half deficit during a 47-45 home victory over Navy. Devonta Abron posted his first career double-double for TCU with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Frogs found themselves in another back-and-forth battle, this time against the Midshipmen in a game featuring nine ties and nine lead changes. TCU continued to win with its defense, holding the Mids to only 37.3% shooting overall, including 25.0% from beyond the arc.
Abron was the breakout player of the night in his first start as a Frog, as he became the fifth different player to lead the team in scoring this season by matching his previous career high. He did most of his damage in the second half, scoring 11 points and making 5-of-6 field goals following intermission.
TCU trailed by five points in the second half before rallying to take a six-point advantage with just over two minutes remaining. Navy climbed to within a point with 15 seconds remaining, but the Frogs withstood a last-second 3-point shot to earn the win.
TCU-NAVY POSTGAME NOTES
* TCU held its opponent under 50 points for the fourth time in five games this season. Its four previous efforts allowing fewer than 50 stretched back 122 games to the 2008 season.
* TCU won its second straight game scoring fewer than 50 points for the first time since the 1950-51 season, when it defeated Texas A&M (30-27) and Texas (49-34) back-to-back.
* TCU continued its streak of outshooting the opponent in each game this season.
* Devonta Abron became the fifth different Frog to lead TCU in scoring in five games this season. He also led TCU in rebounds for the first time and reached double digits in boards for the fifth game in his career.
* TCU utilized its third different starting lineup of the season with Abron earning his first start as a Frog.
DEFENSE IS KEY IN 2012-13
TCU is expected to lean heavily on its defensive play this season following the loss of nearly 60 percent of last year's scoring totals to either graduation or injury. The squad has stepped up this season after ranking as one of the nation's worst defensive teams in 2011-12.
* TCU is No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 6 in the NCAA in opponent scoring average (48.2 ppg).
* The comparison between defensive figures from last year to this year is staggering:
Category - 2012-13 (rank) - 2011-12 (rank)
Scoring Defense - 48.2 (No. 6) - 72.1 (No. 286)
FG Pct. Defense - 34.9% (No. 26) - 47.8% (No. 327)
3FG Pct. Defense - 28.6% (No. 91) - 37.4% (No. 306)
* TCU has allowed fewer than 50 points in four of five games. Prior to this season, TCU's last four efforts giving up fewer than 50 stretched back 122 games to the 2008 campaign.
* TCU allowed 39 points to Prairie View A&M on Nov. 18, the fewest for an opponent since Colgate had 37 on Dec. 30, 2008.
KEEPING IT CLOSE
TCU has made a habit of playing in close games this season, with four of five contests have being decided by seven points or fewer. The Frogs have overcome second-half deficits in three of their four victories.
* TCU erased a 14-point deficit in its Nov. 18 win over Prairie View A&M, the fifth time since the start of last season the squad won after trailing by double digits.
* TCU led the nation last season with 13 victories coming by six points or fewer. The figure was three more than in any previous season in program history.