FORT WORTH, Texas (AP)A couple of quick traps to start the second half, a couple of turnovers, and No. 18 TCU’s rally was in the works.
Mike Miles Jr. scored 23 points, and the Horned Frogs erased an 11-point halftime deficit against Texas Tech for a 67-61 victory in the Big 12 opener for both teams Saturday.
TCU (12-1, 1-0 Big 12) won their 10th consecutive game, using two early turnovers to score the first 10 points of the second half to cap a 12-0 run to get within a point.
”I told them we’re going to get this thing turned in the second half, and they believed,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. ”I didn’t think we’d get it turned that quick.”
With 3:37 remaining, TCU took its first lead since early in the first half when Miles hit a driving layup for a 59-58 edge. Miles then gave the Frogs their biggest lead to that point with a three-point play on another driving bucket after De’Vion Harmon’s 3-point attempt in front of the Texas Tech bench was blocked.
The Red Raiders (10-3, 0-1) led by 13 late in the first half and got the margin back to nine midway through the second half – after TCU had pulled within one before its decisive surge. But Texas Tech couldn’t overcome 15 of its season-high 23 turnovers coming after the break.
”They’ve got some long, athletic players,” coach Mark Adams said after his team’s six-game winning streak ended. ”They turned it up a notch and were getting in the passing lanes. I thought they put a lot of pressure on the ball, and I thought that hurt us.”
Texas Tech freshman Pop Isaacs scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half, including several 3s that ended up just delaying the TCU rally. Harmon scored 13, and Daniel Batcho had nine rebounds and five blocks.
Emanuel Miller scored 16 points, and Damion Baugh added 14 for TCU.
Miles and Eddie Lampkin Jr., who had eight rebounds, combined to score the first 10 points of the second half as the Horned Frogs pulled within 37-36.
Isaacs answered with a 3-pointer, then did it again after the Horned Frogs got even at 53 with seven minutes to go. The lead was still three later when TCU went in front for good on a 9-0 run, with Miles scoring the last seven of those points.
”We definitely knew we’d come back in the game,” said Miles, the Big 12 preseason player of the year and the conference’s second-leading scorer. ”We’ve come back against a lot of teams. We knew this second half wasn’t going to be any different.”
The teams traded technical fouls late in the first half.
Harmon was called for taunting after hitting a jumper in front of the TCU bench to give Texas Tech its biggest lead at 37-24. Just 28 seconds later, Miles was given a technical on his way back on defense after missing a 3-pointer.
Each got to shoot the free throws on the other’s technical, with Miles making one of two and Harmon missing both. Kevin Obanor missed two more after a TCU bench technical in the second half. Texas Tech finished just 9 of 18 from the line.
The TCU traps coming out of halftime forced two traveling calls in the first 90 seconds. After the Red Raiders got their lead back to nine, seven turnovers in a four-minute span helped wipe out most of that cushion.
”We don’t do it a lot … trapping some ball screens,” Dixon said. ”It wasn’t that effective, but it may have gotten us going a little bit more defensively.”
Texas Tech: Obanor, who averaged 21.4 points in the previous five games, was limited to six points on just seven shots (2 of 7). He had a team-high five turnovers.
TCU: The Horned Frogs were flirting with their worst shooting performance of the season before heating up enough late to finish at 40%. The season low of 35.6% came in TCU’s only loss, 64-63 to Northwestern State.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders’ 29-game home winning streak gets a strong test Tuesday against No. 4 Kansas, the defending national champion.
TCU: At No. 12 Baylor on Wednesday in the first true road game, although Horned Frogs beat Utah 75-51 at the home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz.
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