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No. 18 TCU, surging Texas Tech clash in Big 12 opener

Dec 28, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA;  TCU Horned Frogs forward Emanuel Miller (2) dunks during the second half against the Central Arkansas Bears at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Two months of preparation and mostly successful performances set the table for No. 18 TCU and Texas Tech, who will square off on Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas, in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

The Big 12 is stacked, with five teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Both the Horned Frogs (11-1) and the Red Raiders (10-2) head into league play carrying momentum built on winning streaks and impressive performances.

TCU’s most recent game was a dominating 103-57 home victory over Central Arkansas on Wednesday. Mike Miles Jr. scored 21 points to lead the Horned Frogs, while Emanuel Miller added 20, Damion Baugh had 13 and Shahada Wells and JaKobe Coles contributed 12 each.

“It was good to have this kind of a game heading into conference play,” Coles said.

TCU scored 100 points for the first time this season, shot 52.1 percent from the floor, had 40 fastbreak points while allowing Central Arkansas none and scored 58 points in the paint in the victory. The Horned Frogs recorded a season-best 28 assists and matched their season low with seven turnovers.

“Supposedly, we are No. 1 in the country in transition baskets,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “We have worked our transition game and emphasized it. I thought we could be a great running team. “I feel like offensively we are getting there. I liked how we played. We were unselfish.”

The Horned Frogs have won nine straight games, with a one-point home loss to Northwestern State on Nov. 14 the only hiccup on their resume. It’s TCU’s longest win streak since a nine-game run in the 2018-19 campaign.

“We are really feeling good about how we are playing right now,” Miles said. “We’re all healthy, all back on the court together, playing together, playing like we love each other, which we do. We are ready to take care of business on Saturday.”

The Red Raiders are seemingly ready as well, riding a six-game winning streak that was continued with a 110-71 home victory over South Carolina State on Tuesday. Texas Tech, with all five starters scoring in double figures, tallied at least 100 points for a third straight game for the first time since 1966.

Kevin Obanor led the way with 24 points after hitting 5 of 8 3-point attempts. Daniel Batcho added 17 points, Pop Isaacs and De’Vion Harmon had 14 each and Jaylon Tyson hit for 13. Harmon dished out seven of Texas Tech’s 26 assists in a game when the Red Raiders made 38 baskets.

The Red Raiders shot 64.9 percent from the floor and finished 14-for-28 from 3-point range.

“Our guys are playing well together right now,” Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. “They are learning about their teammates. We are moving the ball better and are attacking the basket. That’s been our plan, to push the ball and get a good shot as fast as we can. We just have to continue playing with more discipline and be tougher.”

Texas Tech is set to play a true road game for the first time this season, having gone 2-2 in neutral-court contests.

–Field Level Media