TCU routs Washington State; 81-54

TCU jumped out to a 14-0 lead against Washington State on Monday night as they cruised to an 81-54 over the Pac-12 opponent.

Last season, TCU needed two free throws from point guard Kyan Anderson in the final five seconds to beat the Washington State Cougars 64-62.

This year, Anderson didn’t even need to play the final twelve minutes of the second half in TCU’s 81-54 blowout victory.

Anderson said the difference was a testament to the team’s depth, something that was very apparent Monday night at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.

TCU had 14 players see the court, and eight of those scored at least seven points.

There were times last season when the injury-stricken Horned Frog basketball team didn’t have 14 players available on the roster.

TCU jumped out to an early 14-0 and pushed on from there, beating the Pac-12 opponent by 27 in a game where the Frogs consistently led by double digits.

Anderson starred in just 23 minutes of play, scoring 16 points, dishing out six assists and setting a tough, defensive example with four steals.

The senior point guard opened the game with a steal on the Cougars’ first possession, finishing with an and-one at the rim.

After some flashy dribbling skills and pinpoint passes in the first few minutes of the second half, Anderson said he was just fine with sitting out to end the game and trusting the bench to finish it off.

“It’s key, to have a bench and depth that can come in and give you solid minutes,” Anderson said. “We haven’t really had that due to injuries last year, and it feels good to finally have that – knock on wood.”

Coach Trent Johnson said he was pleased with the 18:9 assist to turnover ratio for the Frogs, as well as the defensive tenacity from the opening tip.

“With the energy defensively and rebounding, we got after them early,” Johnson said. “Our guys were really ready to play, played extremely hard and I’m happy for them. It’s been a long time coming.”

Johnson had charged Anderson with distributing the ball more after a four-assist performance in the opener, and the senior responded with an impressive effort that rewarded Johnson’s faith in his point guard.

“Kyan has earned that respect from me, he’s earned that freedom from me,” Johnson said. “He’s always commanded that respect from his teammates. Kyan Anderson can play – they’ve always respected that.”

TCU is now 2-0 and faces beatable opponents in New Orleans, Mississippi Valley State and Radford in the next three games, but Johnson said the team has a long way to go before he’ll be satisfied.

“Right now it’s easy for them because we’re 2-0 and beat a Pac-12 team, but have we arrived? I don’t think so,” Johnson said.

One player that stood out in the victory was sophomore transfer Kenrich Williams.

Williams scored nine points, collected 10 rebounds, and was diving for loose balls and making hustle plays all night.

“Kenrich Williams, and it’s early for me, but I love guys like him,” Johnson said. “Only thing that matters to him is winning, he appreciates everything about TCU and doesn’t complain about anything – that’s refreshing.”

Sophomore center Karviar Shepherd also had an impressive game, tallying nine rebounds and scoring eight – including a monster put-back slam in the first half.

Shepherd also dished out four assists, good for second-best on the team. His versatility as a big man was on display through his distribution from the top of the key.

TCU started the same five as the season opener: Kyan Anderson, Trey Zeigler, Brandon Parrish, Chris Washburn and Karviar Shepherd.

The Cougars went on a 14-7 run to close the deficit to 21-14 with 10 minutes left in the first half, but the TCU lead only grew from there.

A 10-1 run by the Frogs gave TCU a 31-15 lead with seven minutes remaining in the first, and the two sides ended the half with a score of TCU 45, WSU 26.

The last time TCU scored 45 points in a half was in a game against Grambling State in December of last year. Sophomore Brandon Parrish stroked a couple of key three-pointers, UTEP transfer Chris Washburn scored eight in just 12 minutes because of foul trouble, and true-freshman Chauncey Collins scored 10 points – all in the second half.

For an indication of how the night went for TCU, junior Christian Gore hit two threes and 7’1 freshman Link Kabadyundi had a steal and his first bucket as a Horned Frog.

Washington State tried man-to-man, a full-court press, a 1-3-1 and a 2-3 zone to stop TCU’s offense, but the Frogs adapted well to each new defensive scheme.

Junior Devonta Abron looked a little sluggish in his second game back from last season’s season-ending Achilles injury, but the 255-pound forward still managed seven points and four rebounds in second half mop-up time.

TCU’s next game will be Thursday night at 7 p.m. against New Orleans in the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.

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