Dec. 10, 2004
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Setting the Scene
The TCU Horned Frogs (5-3) return home following a season-long four-game road swing to take on the SMU Mustangs (3-2) on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. TCU trails the all-time series 98-81, but the Frogs have won five of the past six and 16 of the last 20 meetings between the former Southwest Conference rivals. TCU has played SMU more than any other school over its 94 seasons of basketball. The 2003-04 season marked the first time since 1920 that the Horned Frogs and Mustangs did not meet. TCU is looking for its sixth win of the season, which would be the earliest that the Frogs have won six games since reaching the mark on Dec. 8, 2001.
TCU trails the all-time series with SMU by a 98-81 margin. This is the 180th meeting between the two schools and the first since Nov. 24, 2002. These two former Southwest Conference rivals had squared off at least once in every season between 1921 and 2002. The longest TCU winning streak in the series is 12 games, from Jan. 10, 1950 to Jan. 15, 1955. SMU's longest streak was 13 games, from Feb. 28, 1959 to Feb. 16, 1965. The last game between the two rivals was a close one, with SMU winning 87-84 in Dallas in the seventh overtime game in series history. TCU has won five of six, 12 of 14, and 16 of the past 20 meetings. Since the breakup of the Southwest Conference following the 1995-96 season, TCU owns an 11-2 advantage over the Mustangs, winning by an average of 10.2 points per game.
The Last Meeting
The TCU Horned Frogs suffered a heartbreaking 87-84 overtime loss to Metroplex-rival SMU on Nov. 24, 2002 in front of 7,102 fans at Moody Coliseum in Dallas. The loss, which was the first career defeat for TCU head coach Neil Dougherty, snapped the Frogs' five-game series winning streak.
The Mustangs jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the game's first four-plus minutes. But the Horned Frogs used an 11-2 run to jump ahead 13-11 at the 11:05 mark of the first half, and held a nine-point lead, 39-30, at intermission. Junior Blount scored 15 first-half points to pace the Frogs. His back-to-back three-pointers turned a 19-18 TCU advantage into a 25-18 bulge.
TCU owned the lead for the first eight minutes of the second half, and had a 10-point advantage at one point, but the Mustangs chipped away at the Frog lead and moved ahead with 12:17 remaining. The Ponies led much of the rest of the way. SMU had a four-point advantage, 72-68, with 2:08 left, but the Frogs climbed back into the game and eventually took a 75-74 lead. A free throw by SMU's Quinton Ross with :41 left forced overtime.
After six straight SMU points, TCU trailed by five with 31 seconds remaining in overtime. However, the Frogs narrowed it to a one-possession game and had three three-point opportunities in the final 10 seconds of the game to tie the score, but the shots by Bingo Merriex, Blount and Corey Santee didn't go down. As a result, the final score stood at 87-84.
Blount drained a game-high 33 points to pace the Horned Frogs. Merriex recorded a double-double with 10 points and a team-best 14 rebounds. Ron Hobbs posted 10 points, while Jamal Brown had eight points and 12 boards.
Despite the loss, the Horned Frogs have won 12 of the last 14 meetings between the two schools. TCU had won five straight games against SMU in Dallas.
Current Frogs Against the Mustangs
Senior point guard Corey Santee has been held in check in his two meetings with the Mustangs, as he has scored just 11 points (5.5 per game) on 5-of-21 shooting (.238). Included in that total was a career-low two-point night during his freshman season. Senior forward Corey Valsin is averaging 13.5 points per game against SMU, which included a career-high 23-point burst in the 2001 contest in his freshman campaign.
Lone Star Statement
After downing North Texas 88-78 in Denton last Saturday night, TCU has now won five of its last six and eight of its last 10 games against teams from the state of Texas. TCU will play eight games against teams from the Lone Star State this season. SMU is the fifth instate foe among the Horned Frogs' first nine opponents.
Wrapping Up the Kansas Game
In a game much closer than the final score indicated, the TCU Horned Frogs suffered a 93-74 defeat to the second-ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Thursday night in Lawrence, Kan. After heading into intermission down 10, 47-37, the Frogs got to within five, 59-54, with 11:30 remaining in the game before KU pulled away. The final margin was the largest deficit faced by the Horned Frogs in the entire game. Nile Murry poured in 20 points, his highest output as a Frog, to lead TCU in scoring. Corey Santee (14) and Chudi Chinweze (10) also reached double figures. The Horned Frogs, down 13 with 3:08 remaining, suffered a blow when Chinweze drove to the basket, but went down with an injury to his left knee.
In TCU's first eight games of the season, the Horned Frogs have been led in scoring by five different players: Corey Santee (3 times), Marcus Shropshire (2 times), Chudi Chinweze (1 time), Judson Stubbs (1 time) and Nile Murry (1 time). TCU had just four players lead the team in scoring in the squad's 29 games all of last season: Shropshire (12 times), Santee (11 times), Chinweze (5 times) and Nucleus Smith (3 times).
The Difference Between Winning and Losing
Through eight games, TCU's opponents are shooting 208-for-478 (.435) from the floor. In TCU's five victories, the opposition is just 115-for-299 (.385) from the field, but in the Frogs' three losses, teams have shot 52 percent (93-for-179).
Ice Is Back
Third-year TCU assistant coach Kevin "Ice" Lewis is facing his alma mater. Lewis, a four-year letterman (1983-86), scored 1,026 career points and totaled 413 rebounds in 111 games (67 starts) at SMU. He was a first-team All-Southwest Conference player as a senior, when he averaged 18.6 points per game. The Mustangs posted an 85-40 record during his career, and he helped the Ponies earn a pair of trips to the NCAA Tournament (1984 and 1985). He graduated from SMU in 1986 with a degree in psychology and entered the season ranked 30th on the Mustangs' all-time scoring list.
It's a Long Road Back
TCU has concluded its season-long four-game road trip after taking on No. 2 Kansas on Thursday night. After playing their first four games at home, the Frogs have played four straight and will have five of six contests on the road. Between Nov. 26 and Dec. 20, TCU will have played just one home game (Sunday, Dec. 12 vs. SMU). Until this recent stretch, TCU had not played four consecutive games outside Fort Worth since Nov. 24-Dec. 2, 2000, when the team played three games in the Thanksgiving Classic in Las Vegas before traveling to UT-San Antonio. Prior to that, TCU last had four straight away from home in the 1997-98 season.
All-Time Against the Top 25
After suffereing a 93-74 defeat at No. 2 Kansas, the TCU Horned Frogs now stand 11-83 (.117) all time against teams ranked in the nation's top 25. TCU has just one victory over a ranked opponent on the road ever. That win came on Jan. 19, 1998, when TCU upended 24th-rated Hawaii, 83-76, in Honolulu. Since that time, the Frogs have lost 10 straight. In all, TCU is 1-45 (.022) against top-25 teams outside of Fort Worth.
Have Ball, Will Play
Kansas was the 11th ranked opponent that TCU has played in Coach Dougherty's 65 games at the helm of the program. Prior to his arrival, the Horned Frogs played just seven ranked teams from the 1998-99 season through the 2001-02 campaign, a span of 124 games. During the entire decade of the 1990s, TCU played just 19 ranked teams in 303 games. TCU is 1-10 against top-25 teams under Dougherty, but 1-4 against teams rated in the nation's top 10.
Early and Often
The TCU Horned Frogs played six games in the first 10 days of the regular season, meaning that 20 percent of the team's regular-season games were completed by the end of November. TCU's next six games are spaced a little more favorably, a 24-day span from Nov. 29 to Dec. 22. This is just the third time this season that the Horned Frogs have had more than one day between games.
We Got the Same Five
TCU has opened with the same starting lineup in all seven games this year, as Marcus Sloan and Femi Ibikunle have started down low, while Corey Santee, Marcus Shropshire and Nile Murry have been on the perimeter. However, TCU's bench has also played a vital role in terms of playing time and production. Those five players have combined to play 895 of the team's 1,600 minutes this year, which is 56 percent. TCU's starters have accounted for 360 of the squad's 621 points (58 percent) and 147 of the Frogs' 320 rebounds (46 percent).
Good News, Bad News
The TCU Horned Frogs have been to the charity stripe a league-high 226 times in eight games and their trips per game average of 28.3 also ranks first in the league. The bad news is that the Frogs have struggled converting the shots this season, shooting a league-low 59.7 percent (135-for-226).