The only difference: the players made shots.
"It's about making shots. The reality of this game is, the better the player skill set, the more talented the player, the more points you're going to score," Johnson said.
"We got a lot of open shots versus Northwestern that didn't go down. That's our responsibility. That's my responsibility to make sure these guys get open shots and can convert."
Averaging just 55.3 points per game, the TCU offense has struggled with inconsistency.
Their best offensive threat has been sophomore point guard Kyan Anderson.
Anderson is averaged 12 points per game while shooting 52 percent from the floor.
The sophomore point said of his game against UAB, "I just couldn't miss." Anderson finished the game with 35 points, a career high.
Johnson said the team's ability to bounce back against UAB showed impressive mental toughness.
"Coming off a bad performance versus a Northwestern team that's a good basketball team and an experienced team, a team quite frankly I think will have a chance to play in the NCAA tournament, to bounce back versus a UAB team that went to the NIT and have a majority of their players back, I think the guys showed a [good] level of competitiveness and toughness," Johnson said.
In addition to mental toughness, defense and rebounding can be engrained more than scoring ability.
"Defense, rebounding, taking care of the ball, you can engrain that to a certain degree," Johnson said. "The deeper the team, the more talented the team, the more faster you play. Ultimately, your ability to be mentally tough, defend and rebound is going to keep you in games."
"It is simple, but hard. Kids don't try to miss shots, but you are who you are."
As Johnson says often at his press conferences, he is honest.
And he's right.
For Johnson, he must continue the success he has already had in recruiting.
Shepherd, Parrish, and Williams are just a start.
Next on the schedule for the Frogs is a Southern Utah team that is 1-4 but has played good competition early.
"I know this group very well because I know their head coach really well and I know their assistant coach really well, Todd Oaks' son played for me at Nevada. They are going to play extremely hard," Johnson said.
"They have had six days to prepare. New coach, new system, they're finding their way through. We are going to be in close games the whole year regardless of who's hurt, who's on the floor."
Basketball "is simple, but hard," but Trent Johnson is not at a lack for confidence.
"We will be successful here. We will."