TCU makes basketball breakthrough

The TCU Horned Frogs and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets mascots danced for the crowd at New York's Madison Square Garden on Thursday night when the two schools faced each other in the National Invitation Tournament title game. TCU won 88-56.

A year ago, TCU’s men’s basketball team finished 12-21. But this year, the Horned Frogs finished 24-15 under first year coach Jamie Dixon who was a standout player for TCU in the late 1980s.

TCU’s turn-around season concluded in dramatic fashion on Thursday night when the Horned Frogs routed Georgia Tech, 88-56, in the National Invitation Tournament championship game at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Dixon said clinching the NIT title was a significant move in the right direction.

“This is a huge step,” Dixon said. “I wanted our players to be proud of our program. I wanted our school to be proud of our program. And that’s what I came to do. I thought I could be the guy to do it. I thought I had the background.”

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Under Dixon’s leadership, TCU made its first trip to a championship game in any tournament. The Horned Frogs earned their first 20-win season since 2004-2005. TCU’s 24 wins were the most in any season since 1997-1998 when the Horned Frogs won 27 games.

Dixon took the TCU coaching job last March after coaching at Pittsburgh for 13 years. TCU Senior guard Brandon Parrish said he made a big difference.

“Coach Dixon has brought a whole new energy to this program,” Parrish said. “There were times I never thought it would be possible to have it like this.”