OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — TCU coach Trent Johnson is not much of a historian, especially when it concerns his unbeaten Horned Frogs, who are off to their best start since 1997-98.
“I don’t worry about it. Our players don’t worry about it. That’s the past and we respect the past. What we worry about is getting better right now,” said Johnson, after the Horned Frogs improved to 8-0 Thursday night with a 66-54 win over Mississippi in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
The Horned Frogs did it with a balanced offensive attack and by dominating on the boards. Karviar Shepherd had game highs in both departments with 14 points and nine rebounds.
“This was our best performance against this level of competition, in their building,” Johnson said. “We were good defensively and offensively, we’re a team. The thing I like best is we’re playing like a team and we’re staying the course.”
Brandon Parrish and Kyan Anderson had 11 points apiece with Amric Fields adding 10 for TCU. The Horned Frogs were 22 of 55 (40 percent) from the field and won the rebounding battle, 43-33. Despite an assortment of defenses used by the Rebels, TCU had only nine turnovers.
Stefan Moody led the Rebels with 12 points. Ole Miss managed only 17 of 57 (29.8 percent) from the field. The Rebels were 16 of 18 (88.9 percent) from the free-throw line, but could not match TCU on the boards and never got closer than five points in the final 15 minutes.
TCU led 27-24 at halftime and used a decisive 10-2 surge early in the second half, capped by a Shepherd jumper, to build a 37-28 lead with 15:15 left. The Horned Frogs built their biggest lead, 58-39, with 5:20 left on a 3-point shot from Fields.
The 8-0 start is the best since the 1997-1998 club that earned an NCAA tournament berth. Johnson, in his third season as head coach, praised his club’s improvement, but refused to speculate on the season’s future prospects.
“I’m not into speculation. Anybody that knows me knows that,” Johnson said. “Here’s where we are. This was a very good win against a very good team and we had a lot of positives. Now, it’s time to worry about Saturday’s practice at 5 p.m.”
TCU: With the win, the Horned Frogs completed the SEC sweep of Mississippi teams, after defeating Mississippi State 61-52 earlier this month. In seven of their eight wins, the Horned Frogs have limited opponents to 54 points or less.
Ole Miss: The Rebels have split four home games, but are unbeaten in three road games. In the home losses to Charleston Southern and TCU, the Rebels have managed only 36 of 130 (27.6 percent) from the field. Ole Miss continues to be hot from the free-throw line, hitting 92 of 113 (81.4 percent) in the past five games.
The game was stopped for more than 10 minutes after TCU guard Chauncey Collins hit his head on the floor after falling during a rebound attempt. After laying motionless for an extended period of time, Collins walked off the court with assistance. His status for Furman was uncertain.
“He’s our No. 1 concern. We don’t want to speculate when he could return, we just want him to get healthy. It was a hard fall,” said TCU coach Trent Johnson.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
“It’s amazing to me that we haven’t been able to shoot effectively in our own building.” — Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said.
Ole Miss visits Oregon on Sunday.
TCU hosts Furman on Tuesday.