By the time most of the crowd arrived Sunday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, TCU had put themselves in a 14-0 hole against Prairie View A&M.
For the following 14 minutes, TCU would hold the Panthers to just two points and no field goals.
"Any time you play a team with that kind of length and that kind of athleticism, and they play a zone, it takes you out of rhythm," Johnson said. "To a lot of people the game was ugly, but to me, that's how we're going to have to play to succeed moving forward."
The Frogs took a late lead in the first half behind nine points from junior guard Jarvis Ray.
Adrick McKinney fouled a three point shooter with under a minute to play to give Prairie View a 20-17 lead heading into the locker room as the Frogs shot just 25 percent from the floor.
The second half brought more of the same. The Panthers came out of the locker room as the aggressors. The Panthers grabbed a seven point lead at the first media timeout.
Again the TCU defense tightened. With 8:30 to play, the Frogs would again tie the game 32-32.
Just two minutes later, Kyan Anderson hit a three pointer to give TCU the lead.
It was Anderson who's energy and passing would carry TCU down the stretch. With under one minute to play, Anderson found DeVonta Abron on the block who converted a layup to give TCU a 42-35 lead.
From there, Garlon Green would hit two free throws to give TCU a 44-39 victory.
Forty-four points was the lowest scoring total for the Frogs in a win since 1980.
"When you lose a guy with the impact of Amric Fields, it hurts you in points; it hurts you in rebounds, and it hurts your rotation," Johnson said. "The start of the game was not on the players, it was on me, starting in a zone. I got away from doing what I always do being aggressive."
Abron echoed Johnson's sentiment about stepping up in the absence of Amric Fields.
"We know when one of our soldiers went down, we have to come together and pick him back up," Abron said. "We know that he's with us in our hearts. We have to just keep playing hard."
Jarvis Ray led TCU with 13 points, and Devonta Abron had his best game as a Frog, tallying 10 points to go along with eight rebounds.
"I just didn't want to give up on plays. Like coach says, take no plays off. Play like it's your last game. I just know that when it's my time to get out there to help my teammates, I know what they expect from me, and I know what I gotta do."
But for head coach Trent Johnson, he again praised the play of senior guard Nate Butler Lind.
"I can't say enough about Nate now," Johnson said. "Nate Butler does so much that you don't see in the stat sheet in terms of setting screens, trying to move the ball, passing up shots...He is competing at a high level."
The Frogs held the Panthers to just 28.3 percent shooting from the floor and forced 18 turnovers, compared to just five assists tallied by the Panthers.
"We were getting a lot of open shots," Jarvis Ray said. "We just have to knock them down. They weren't falling at first, but we got in our rhythm...and started to pull away."
TCU's next game is against Navy on Tuesday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
Head coach Trent Johnson knows his team must take every opportunity to continue improving.
"We have to come back tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. In the morning and practice. We're going to need everybody."