Men's basketball looks to keep road momentum against TCU


Redshirt freshman center Innocent Nwoko dunks the basketball on Nov. 10 at McGuirk Arena. 

Head coach Keno Davis has made it clear — this next game is one the Central Michigan men's basketball team has circled since the schedule came out.

"Our guys won't be happy unless they pull off the upset," Davis said. "We understand this is a great test for us and we go in there and knock down some shots we will have a chance at the end. If we don't, we're going to get some of our weaknesses exposed and learn from them.

"To me it's a win-win, but to our guys it's a win or nothing."

The Chippewas (6-1) will look to improve their three-game winning streak against Texas Christian University (4-1) at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 in Schollmaier Arena. 

Coming into the season, the Horned Frogs were ranked No. 20 in the country by the Associated Press and got to as high as No. 18. TCU was upset by Lipscomb 73-64 on its home floor on Nov. 20. They bounced back against fellow Mid-American Conference opponent Eastern Michigan with an 87-69 victory. The Eagles (4-4) were picked by the media to win the MAC East Conference.

"I think some coaches and other teams now realize we are a dangerous team to play," Davis said. "I think by winning (against Sam Houston State) we have a better chance to (beat TCU). To beat a top 25 team you can't go in scared or feel pressure."

The Chippewas felt the pressure of a college road basketball game in the first half against SHSU on Nov. 28. They trailed 39-30 going into the locker room against the Bearkats. In the second half, they found rhythm.

SHSU couldn't buy a basket and the Chippewas were red hot. They shot 60 percent from 3-point distance (6-for-10) and 63.6 percent from the field while holding SHSU to under 30 percent in both field goals (28 percent) and 3-point attempts (25 percent). CMU went on to win the game 81-65 for its first true road victory.

"The conversation at halftime was we were down just single digits and have 10 turnovers," Davis said. "We looked a little scared like it was our first road trip. We had to settle guys down and say when they made a mistake it can't turn into two or three mistakes."

The Chippewas currently have an RPI ranking of 262. A win against a team that received eight votes in the latest AP Top 25 poll would go a long way in boosting that number.

Scouting TCU

The Horned Frogs are a member of the Big 12 Conference where last season they finished fifth in the league with a 9-9 record. Overall, TCU finished 21-12 and made it to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed where they lost 57-52 in the First Four contest to Syracuse.

Jamie Dixon is in his third year as the head coach of the Horned Frogs, producing back-to-back 20-plus win seasons for the program for the first time in 19 years. Overall, in his two-plus seasons with TCU he's posted a 51-28 record overall and is 15-21 in the Big 12.

As a team, TCU ranks seventh in the Big 12 for scoring offense, averaging 74.6 points per game. On defense, TCU holds teams to 66.8 points per game which is sixth in the league. Currently, TCU holds the best field goal percentage in the conference by hitting just over 50 percent of their shots.