FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Vlad Brodziansky was quite impressive from the field for TCU, with the 6-foot-11 forward from Slovakia making all seven of his shots and blocking five others.
“Hey, you missed one free throw,” Horned Frogs senior guard Michael Williams said, leaning over to Brodziansky after the game.
That can be forgiven considering that Brodziansky scored 18 points, on 7-of-7 shooting and 4-of-5 free throws, and had six rebounds as the Horned Frogs remained undefeated under Jamie Dixon with a 77-54 victory over Arkansas State on Saturday night.
TCU (8-0) led by only a bucket before Brodziansky scored seven consecutive points in a 55-second span, part of a 9-2 run for the Horned Frogs that JD Miller ended with a short jumper for a 46-37 lead.
“My teammates are finding me in the open spot on the floor. … I didn’t have to take any hard shots, or tough shots,” Brodziansky said.
“I was excited. He kept the ball up, we’ve been working on that. He had a tendency to bring it down,” said Dixon, calling that one of his pet peeves for big men. “We’ve been working on simple little drills.”
Kenrich Williams added 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Frogs, while freshman point guard Jaylen Fisher had 13 points despite some early foul trouble.
Devin Carter had 22 points and C.J. Foster 13 to lead Arkansas State (7-2). Grant McCasland is in his first season with the Sun Belt Conference team after the past five seasons in the Big 12 as a Baylor assistant.
“They’re playing with a different level of confidence, and from what I see, you can tell there’s a physicality still to the way they play and they’re good defensively, they swarm you,” McCasland said of TCU. “They’re playing with a little different confidence, different composure.”
Arkansas State: The Red Wolves had won seven in a row, including a win at Georgetown, since losing their season opener. Starting guards Donte Thomas and Rashad Lindsey both came in averaging more than 10 points a game, but were a combined 2-of-12 shooting with each scoring only one basket.
TCU: The Horned Frogs still have four more games before starting Big 12 Conference play against fourth-ranked Kansas, but Dixon’s team — which includes four seniors and a trio of talented freshmen — is growing together. After consecutive wins over Washington, in a tournament in Las Vegas last weekend and then at home Wednesday, Dixon said the Frogs played their best overall game against the best team they’ve played.
Dixon, the former TCU player who was Pittsburgh’s coach the past 13 seasons, is the first Frogs coach to ever win his first eight games.
Dixon took a few minutes after the game to give his team an algebra lesson. Some of his players didn’t know how RPI is calculated, so he explained it to them. They may still be confused on all the calculations, but if they keep winning, all those numbers and decimals will take care of themselves.
HE SAID IT
“You get a chance to get exposed when you play a team like that,” McCasland said.
Arkansas State will spend most of December on the road. The Red Wolves played the first of five consecutive games away from home, but now have a 10-day break before going to UT-Martin on Dec. 14. Their next home game is their Sun Belt Conference opener on New Year’s Eve against Louisiana-Lafayette.
TCU has two more games before a week off during finals exams. The Horned Frogs go to the other side of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to play at SMU on Wednesday, and then are home again next Saturday against Wofford.