TCU rode 18 points from Jarvis Ray and 15 from Brandon Parrish to its first victory of the season over Abilene Christian by a score of 71-64.
While head coach Trent Johnson will take the win, he refused to sugar coat his message to his team.
“What I told the basketball team is we’re not very good right now, and we’re not playing very well right now, but we found a way to win,” Johnson said. “We’re struggling and guys are fighting themselves. Quite frankly, they were embarrassed. I was embarrassed, but what you need to understand is regardless of who you play...the responsibility [lies with me].”
TCU turned up its defense when the game got close late in the second half. Abilene Christian’s last field goal came with 4:59 to play. TCU had built a 14 point second half lead early in the half, but Joe Golding’s team refused to quit.
“We had a tough one a couple of nights ago in Iowa, but I thought our guys did a great job coming back here to TCU,” Golding said. “The growth of our team--it’s a process, but to get down 14 and fight back is a huge step for our program.”
In addition to Ray and Parrish, TCU received a scoring boost from walk-on Christian Gore who started due to a severely injured TCU roster. While Gore hit just one shot from the floor, he hit 12 of 14 free throws and finished with 14 points.
“Coach keeps telling us with the way they’re calling the game now, you have to put the ball on the floor and get to the bucket,” Gore explained. “The way they are calling the hand checks now, you get to the line every time you put it down. My mind set was just try to get to the bucket.”
Despite playing with just seven healthy scholarship players, Johnson maintains that his team, infused with talent from a strong 2013 recruiting class, can play with anyone on their schedule.
“They need to understand. We’re capable if we play hard, we play together, we make shots, and we really play hard. We’re capable of beating a lot of people we play this year, but if we don’t anyone can beat us,” said Johnson.
?Freshman Karviar Shepherd finished with seven points and nine rebounds Tuesday night, but Johnson praised his young center for not getting frustrated.
“We would have liked to have gotten the ball to Karviar a lot more, but people know about him, and they’re gonna sag in on him,” Johnson said. “Until we get another bona fide post player, that’s what we’re looking at. Karviar did a good job not getting frustrated.”
“He’s the only true post we have healthy. Going into a game--and he’s banged up--one of the first things he worries about his foul trouble. He’s done an excellent job playing in foul trouble and being the anchor of our back line, knowing that people are going to attack him.”
Freshman Hudson Price was again unavailable for TCU after suffering a concussion on Sunday in practice. Price joined five other scholarship players who sat out.
“In all my years, I’ve never been around anything like this,” Johnson sighed.
TCU takes the floor again Sunday against Washington State on the road.