Preview: Indiana State vs. TCU
TCU seeks an eighth straight victory overall and a second over Indiana State in 10 days when the teams meet in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic Tuesday night in Honolulu, Hawaii. TCU forced 20 turnovers to defeat the Sycamores 90-70 at home on Dec. 16 and showed the same kind of focus on defense to pull away from Bucknell for an 82-65 victory in Sunday’s semifinals.
The Horned Frogs led just 44-41 at halftime against Bucknell before limiting the Bison to 29.6 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes, including 3-of-13 from 3-point range, and scored 27 points off turnovers overall. “We knew we had to lock down better on defense since they were shooting (46.2) percent in the first half, and our M.O. this year is to be a really good defensive team,” TCU senior point guard Alex Robinson told reporters. “That was our focus and I think we accomplished that.” Indiana State leads the nation in 3-point shooting percentage (45.5), but connected on just three of their 16 attempts from behind the arc in the first matchup with the Horned Frogs before draining 14-of-28 in the first two games of the tournament. The Sycamores, who are led by junior guard Jordan Barnes (21.5 points per game), will be playing in their first nonconference tournament championship game since 1999 when they won the Indiana Classic.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT INDIANA STATE (8-3): Barnes, who scored 17 in the loss to TCU, is averaging 23.5 points in the tournament after recording 28 and dishing out five assists against UNLV in the semifinals Sunday. Sophomore guard Tyreke Key averages 17.2 points on 55 percent shooting while junior guard Christian Williams (11.7 points, team-high 8.3 rebounds) gives the Sycamores three talented weapons on offense. Senior center Emondre Rickman poured in season-high 13 points against UNLV – almost eight above his average – and owns a team-best 17 blocks.
ABOUT TCU (10-1): Robinson, who is averaging 12.9 points, is second in the nation with nine assists per game and has 22 in the last two games – one away from the tournament record set by Kyle Collinsworth of BYU in 2015. Junior guard Desmond Bane leads the team at 14.6 points per contest and is 22-of-37 from the field in the past four games while sophomore forward Kouat Noi averages 13.9 points. Junior guard Jaylen Fisher is fourth on the team in scoring overall (12.3) while connecting on 29-of-63 shots from behind the 3-point arc in the last seven contests.
1. Robinson passed Prince Fowler (514) for second on TCU’s all-time assists list and is 58 away from Corey Santee (575).
2. Barnes and Key have combined to make 49 of their 91 attempts from 3-point range this season.
3. TCU freshman C Kevin Samuel tops the team in rebounding (7.0) and is shooting 74.5 percent from the field.