By Jeff Wilson
Frogs Today senior writer
The only thing worse than riding a bus back from Oklahoma State is doing so after a last-minute loss.
The TCU men endured that Wednesday night and into Thursday morning after giving away a game they should have won despite 22 turnovers.
After a long bus ride, the Horned Frogs had a quick turnaround to correct what ailed them before playing Iowa State.
At Iowa State. At No. 15 Iowa State.
Damion Baugh scored a career-high 23 points, in large part because he made seven steals, and TCU held Iowa State to the fewest points in program history at Hilton Coliseum in a 59-44 victory Saturday in Ames, Iowa.
Chuck O’Bannon scored 10 points, and the Frogs shot 49% against one of the nation’s best defensive teams.
It wasn’t just a one-man show, though. Here’s how the Frogs beat a ranked team on the road for only the third time in 96 tries.
Speaking on his postgame radio show, coach Jamie Dixon said that what impressed him most Saturday was how the Frogs rebounded between the ears Thursday and Friday.
Rather than sulk after blowing a nine-point lead with 3:16 to go at Oklahoma State, the Frogs had a winning mindset. They went to work on where they went wrong in the 57-56 loss at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“We responded Thursday with mental preparation, and I thought they handled it great. It was hard,” Dixon said. “And then Friday, really good preparation. We had an early shootaround today, really good preparation. So I just thought they prepared to win, and they were focused and they were understanding of what we did wrong.”
They reduced their turnovers from 22 to 15, but only five in the first half. They attempted to find more offense inside, and multiple players contributed to an offense that was less reliant on set plays. Ten players saw time on the floor, as usual, and eight of them scored.
TCU led by 11 at halftime and pushed it to 13 before Iowa State went on a 10-0 run, but TCU withstood the run in the face of a crowd of 14,267.
Iowa State had a miserable shooting game, shooting only 30.9% and just 11.5% (3 for 26) on 3-point tries.
But TCU’s defense had something to do with that.
No, it wasn’t a one-man show, but Baugh was terrific.
His defense was the key. Many of his seven steals, the most by a TCU player since 2001, resulted in breakaway baskets and kept Iowa State’s offense in a funk.
“It’s a game-changer when you get that many bust outs, breakaways,” Dixon said. “It takes the ball away from them, obviously, and gives you a layup against a really good defensive team. We needed those, that got us the big lead.”
Baugh’s steal and dunk with 12:20 remaining restored the Frogs’ lead to nine after Iowa State had cut it to 36-33.
Miles Jr.’s strong game
Leading scorer Mike Miles Jr. was held to single digits for a third straight game, scoring five, but Dixon said the sophomore guard had a strong game.
Miles’ biggest contribution was no turnovers despite frequently facing double teams. He committed four turnovers Wednesday.
Miles continues to play with his right taped after injuring it Jan. 8 against Baylor.
“I thought he was really good,” Dixon said. “And that he was good defensively. I thought offensively, you know, they’re going to take try to take things away from him right now. He’s not feeling great rhythm-wise as far as shooting it.”
However, Dixon said that Miles provided the shot that put the game away with a baseline jumper with 5:58 remaining. It came on an out-of-bounds play with 2 seconds left on the shot clock.
“To me, that play, when we ran that play, I thought that kind of put it over the top,” Dixon said.
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com