By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
TCU appears to have righted the ship after some early struggles.
The men’s team knocked off No. 25 Iowa on Saturday night, 79-66, to win the Emerald Coast Classic championship as Micah Peavy and Mike Miles Jr. combined for 31 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. The duo led the Frogs to their strongest shooting performance of the season, 54.8 percent, and the highest since a 54.9 percent effort against Missouri during the 2020-21 season.
Miles was selected as the tournament MVP after scoring 23 points Friday in a win over Cal.
Meanwhile, the Frogs stifled a strong Iowa offense. TCU held the Hawkeyes to season lows in points, shooting percentage and 3-point percentage, and outrebounded Iowa 41-28.
“We made it very tough on a good offensive team to get shots in the second half,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “We came up with loose balls and continued to rebound. I’m proud of these guys. Everyone has been counting us out already, and we understand we had some unbelievable challenges and we’re going to be better for it.”
The Frogs were without Emanuel Miller for the second consecutive game, as the forward deals with a back issue. His status for Wednesday’s game against Providence is still unclear. TCU was without Damion Baugh as well, as he served his final game of his six-game suspension for signing with an unauthorized agent last spring.
It should be noted that the agent Baugh signed with is now an authorized agent. Despite that fact, the NCAA denied TCU’s appeal and suspended Baugh.
Despite missing two starters, Dixon wasn’t too worried.
“I felt good going into this game because I actually knew who was playing,” Dixon said. “Even though Damion was out and Emanuel was out, I actually knew going into the game who was going to be playing, which is the first I’ve had this year.”
For the sixth time this season, TCU rolled a different starting lineup on the court as Peavy started instead of Chuck O’Bannon.
Dixon liked the defensive matchup Peavy presented to Iowa’s Kris Murray, who entered averaging a team-best 19.3 points on 49.4 percent shooting and 38.2 percent shooting on 3-pointers. Peavy limited Murray to 11 points on just 4-for-14 shooting on the night.
“Defending has to be the staple for him,” Dixon said. ” So that’s what he did, and then some layups came. … I’m proud of him and what he did.”
TCU as a team kept Iowa’s offense off rhythm all night. While Murray was limited in his scoring, Iowa’s second-leading scorer, Patrick McCaffery, was held scoreless.
“We expect to be good defensively,” Dixon said. “We’re putting long athletes everywhere. We’re communicating better. We really emphasized walling up and doing things at the end of drives, which is something they were really good at, and we emphasized that for about a week and our guys really took to it.”
Now the Frogs head back to Fort Worth for a matchup with Providence on Wednesday. Should Miller be healthy enough to play, it will be the first game this season that Dixon has the full roster at his disposal.
Jamie Plunkett, email@example.com