Monday's basketball: TCU gets healthy in win over Eastern Michigan

Stephen Hawkins
Associated Press
Eastern Michigan forward James Thompson IV (2) looks for room against TCU forward JD Miller (15) during the first half.

Fort Worth, Texas — With Kouat Noi and Jaylen Fisher back on the court and making shots for TCU, the Horned Frogs looked more like the team they expected to be this season – even after falling out of the Top 25.

Noi scored 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting and made five 3-pointers while Fisher scored 12 points on four 3s as the Frogs beat Eastern Michigan 87-69 on Monday night. The win came after they dropped out of the new poll earlier in the day.

“They were picked as a top 20 team in the country, they hadn’t played like it,” EMU coach Rob Murphy said. “Those two guys being out is the reason why, and we knew if they played and had their feet up under them they would be able to do some damage.”

Neither Noi or Fisher started, but TCU (4-1) went on a game-turning 31-10 run not long after they entered together about 5 1/2 minutes into the game.

Both had missed the first three games because of right knee issues before making their debuts last week when the Frogs, then ranked 18th, lost 73-64 at home to Lipscomb. Fisher started but played only seven minutes that night because he didn’t feel right, and Noi was 1-of-7 shooting (all 3s).

“It felt like I was supposed to be doing this, all the work I’ve put in, I feel like I was supposed to be here,” said Fisher, who made three long 3s in a 2 1/2-minute span to help get the Frogs rolling against EMU after their slow start.

Fisher, the junior point guard, was limited to 17 games last season before a torn meniscus in his right knee last January. He needed arthroscopic surgery on that same knee in September.

Eastern Michigan (4-4) led 11-2 after Paul Jackson rebounded a Fisher miss, leading to Damari Parris’ alley-oop pass to Boubacar Toure for a dunk.

Kevin Samuel’s dunk on the opening possession was TCU’s only points in the first nearly eight minutes of the game. The Frogs then missed seven shots in a row until another dunk by Samuel started the big run that turned a nine-point deficit into a 12-point lead before halftime.

Noi scored 22 of his points in TCU’s 52-point second half against the Eagles zone defense.

“Honestly I’m always comfortable shooting the ball no matter what, but it was a good game today,” Noi said.

Toure had 20 points and 12 rebounds for EMU, while Jackson had 18 points and six assists.

Samuel had 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while Desmond Bane and JD Miller each had 11 for TCU.

Monday’s Big Ten

(At) Nebraska 68, Clemson 66: Isaac Copeland Jr. wasn’t about to let this resume-builder slip away for Nebraska.

The Cornhuskers had watched Clemson cut an eight-point lead down to 66-64 in the final seconds and made sure his teammates knew it was time to toughen up. “We’re winning this game. We’re winning this game,” Copeland, a senior, shouted in the huddle.

“Chill out, bro, chill out,” James Palmer told his teammate, according to Nebraska coach Tim Miles.

“Hey guys, it’s OK,” Miles told them. “We’re all on the same team. We’re all in the same direction.”

A winning one for the Cornhuskers, who closed out the Tigers for a 68-66 win to start the ACC/Big Ten Challenge — and gained a critical check mark when the NCAA Tournament committee looks to fill the field next March.

Palmer scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half and Copeland added 16 points for Nebraska (6-1), which earlier had dropped a game to Texas Tech it came in expecting to win.

“We had been tested before with Texas Tech and we gave up early, and that’s why we lost by so much,” Copeland said of the 70-52 loss last week. “We knew going into this game we had to be strong, stay together.”

That’s just what they did when, ahead by two, they forced a turnover from Clemson’s Marcquise Reed with 9.4 seconds left. Glynn Watson Jr. followed with two foul shots seconds later to seal the win.

“It’s our first real road test of the year, so passing it was really important,” Miles said.

Nebraska thought it had a strong NCAA case after winning 22 games and going 13-5 in Big Ten play. But the Cornhuskers were left out, then got beat in the NIT opening round. A win like this, Copeland said, will help change that.

“We’re headed to high places,” he said.

(At) Boston 68, Minnesota 56: Nik Popovic scored all 18 of his points in the second half and Wynston Tabbs added 17 points to lead Boston College over Minnesota and send the Golden Gophers to their first loss of the season.

Ky Bowman had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Steffon Mitchell added 13 rebounds as the Eagles (5-1) held Minnesota without a basket for 8:05 early in the second quarter to open a double-digit lead. BC snapped a three-game losing streak in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge and improved to 7-4 in the conference matchup overall.

Jordan Murphy scored 16 with 11 rebounds for the Gophers (5-1), who fell to 9-11 in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. It was the first-ever game between the schools, and it marked the return of Minnesota coach Richard Pitino to the city where his father failed so spectacularly as coach of the Celtics.

Bowman, a first-team preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, shot just 3 for 13 from the field and missed all three shots he took in the second half. But Popovic made up for it, making all nine field goals that he took in the game.

After taking a one-point lead into the half, BC fell behind 35-33 before scoring six straight points and 18 of the next 23.

Top 25

(At) No. 1 Gonzaga 102, North Dakota State 60: Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura each scored 18 points, Corey Kispert added 17 points and Zach Norvell Jr. 15 for Gonzaga (7-0), which reached No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 earlier in the day by virtue of beating former No. 1 Duke at the Maui Invitational.

Vinnie Shahid scored 16 points for North Dakota State (2-5), which shot just 36 percent in the game.

Texas Southern 89, (at) No. 18 Oregon 84: Trayvon Reed scored 23 points and John Jones added 20 to help Texas Southern shock No. 18 Oregon.

Reed, a 7-foot-2 senior, made all nine of his shots and also was 5-for-5 from the foul line for the Tigers (2-4), who were 24-point underdogs.

It was just the fourth nonconference loss at home for the Ducks since Matthew Knight Arena opened in 2011.

Oregon led by 13 points early in the second half before the Tigers rallied. Reed’s dunk with 9:59 left in the game capped a 23-8 run and gave the Tigers a 61-59 advantage. Bol Bol, the Ducks’ 7-2 freshman center, had 32 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double. He hit two free throws with 3:20 left to tie the game at 75.

Reed then scored four straight points to give the Tigers a 79-75 advantage with 2:18 left. Will Richardson hit two free throws 12 seconds later to get Oregon back within two.

Derrick Bruce had eight of his 13 points in the final 1:11 to seal the win, including making all six of his free throws in the final 43 seconds.

Payton Pritchard had 14 points, and Will Richardson and Victor Bailey Jr. added 13 each for Oregon (4-2).

(At) No. 25 Mississippi State 88, Alcorn State 65: Nick Weatherspoon and Lamar Peters both scored 17 points, Reggie Perry added 16 points and 11 rebounds and Mississippi State was efficient on offense, shooting 33 of 54 (61 percent) from the field. Weatherspoon shot 6 of 10, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. Peters was 6 of 9 shooting, including 5 of 8 from behind the arc.

The Bulldogs led by as many as 33 points in the second half. Quinndary Weatherspoon added 14 points and Tyson Carter had 10.

Mississippi State (5-1) was a little careless with turnovers in the opening minutes, but recovered to push its lead to 44-29 by halftime. The Bulldogs shot 17 of 25 (68 percent) from the field in the first half, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range.

Alcorn State (1-6) was led by Deshaw Andrews, who scored 26 points. The Braves shot just 37.3 percent from the field.

Gonzaga injury

Top-ranked Gonzaga says guard Geno Crandall fractured his right hand during practice Sunday and will miss the next four to six weeks of the season.

Crandall joins star forward Killian Tillie, who is out for about another month because of an ankle injury, on the sidelines.

Crandall is a graduate transfer from North Dakota who has appeared in all six games this season, averaging 18 minutes per game.

He’s averaging five points and has dished out 14 assists.