As TCU's players watched Longwood, a Division I team for just the last five years, hit a deep three pointer for the win with 1.9 seconds left, Trent Johnson was thinking about an opportunity missed. He's not talking about an opportunity to win, he's talking about an opportunity to compete.
"I'm not one of these individuals who says okay now we're playing Longwood," Johnson said. "It does not matter. That's not what this thing is about. I wish I could empty myself into certain guys. Competition is competition. Why should we have a sense of false confidence?"
Johnson continued saying he knew TCU's mental toughness would be tested against a deceptively potent Longwood team.
"One of the things I talked to the group about before we went on the floor was our mental toughness was going to be tested," Johnson said. "I said shame on you guys if you think this game is any different than if you're playing Duke or SMU. This is how good teams and good players are going to be judged. We are trying to get to the point where we can be a good team and have a bunch of good players. Mental toughnes is being prepared and being accountable every day. In the first half, that was not to be found."
TCU was led in scoring by Kyan Anderson who scored 17, many of which came in the last two minutes. Jarvis Ray joined Anderson in double figures with 15 as did freshmen Brandon Parrish (13) and Michael Williams (11).
Longwood was led by Tristan Carey who was nothing short of phenomenal Tuesday night. Carey finished with 31 points as he connected on seven three pointers.
Twenty of Carey's points came in the first half when Johnson said TCU was asleep, allowing their poor shooting to dictate their effort on defense.
"I was really suprised at our lack of energy. When the ball is not going down for you, you can't let that dictate how you play," Johnson explained. "It's hard for me right now to look at the positives. I'm not taking anything away from Longwood. Tristan Carey is a good player...It's early, and we'll move forward."
Taking one look at the TCU bench, any fan can see the wealth of talent that TCU has not playing, but Johnson says he refuses to lose that as an excuse.
"I want to say this because I don't want to address it anymore. I don't care who's on the floor. It does not matter," Johnson said. "The guys on the floor are capable of playing better basketball than we played today. For me, that's important. Hudson, Amric, Chris--when they're ready, that's when they'll be on the floor. The seven or eight guys that are playing are capable of playing good basketball. We had seven scholarship players, three walk-ons. So what. It's about being competitive. It's about doing the things right that you work on in practice."
"There is not panic here. It's about playing good basketball with what you have...It's between the ears. We're all in this together, and like I said, we have to get in here on Thursday and get after it."
TCU faces Abilene Christian one week from Tuesday night at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
Longwood's Lucas Woodhouse hits a game winner with under two seconds to play.