The Runnin' Rebels took their eight-game winning streak on the road today and ran into a determined TCU Horned Frogs team that shot 56 percent from the floor to win 80-73 in front of just under 4,000 fans.
The first half looked like it was bombs away as both teams buried three after three after three. Kevin Wallace hit on 4 for 4 from three-point range to keep the Rebels close in the first half, but TCU, behind Zvonko Buljan, who had a game-high 20 points with 7-11 from the field and added 13 rebounds, was too much for the Rebels to defend.
Lon Kruger used his smaller lineup for most of the game, preferring to have his perimeter shooters on the court. His strategy almost worked. Joe Darger had a game-high 15 points, followed by Rene Rougeau and Kendall Wallace with 12, while Tre'Von Willis also reached double digits with 11.
The Horned Frogs, however, dominated the boards 30-20, and Joe Darger looked way out of his league against the taller front line. Kruger used only eight players in his rotation, and by game's end the Rebels looked tired and burned out.
The Rebels also struggled at the charity line, making only eight out of 15. Wink Adams, playing his first significant amount of time since his injury, looked tentative in his 36 minutes, and his four turnovers were instrumental in the Rebels' poor showing.
One thing is for sure this year: It will not be easy to win on the road in the Mountain West Conference. The top teams will struggle, as the Rebels did today, and as did Utah, who was hammered by San Diego State 72-63 in California. The Rebels continue on this road swing on Wednesday when they visit Colorado State, who lost at home to BYU today 86-60.
The Rebels need to stay focused, put this game behind them, and in practice this week work on their foul shooting. I'm sure I don't have to tell that to Coach Kruger.