Freshman Fuller scores 17 for TCU in 79-50 win over Lamar

NCAA Basketball
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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP)TCU freshman PJ Fuller had a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, Kevin Samuel had another double-double and the Horned Frogs beat Lamar 79-50 on Saturday afternoon.

”Games like this are just confidence boosters for myself, and also for my teammates,” Fuller said.

Fuller, one of fourth-year coach Jamie Dixon’s highest-rated recruits, had his third double-figure scoring game this season for TCU (8-2), while Samuel had his sixth double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Avery Sullivan had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Cardinals (6-5), and Davion Buster had 14 points with four made 3-pointers. T.J. Atwood, a preseason All-Southland selection who averaged more than 17 points per game, finished with a season-low three points.

Edric Dennis Jr. scored all 14 of his points in the first half for TCU. R.J. Nembhard had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Dennis was 4-of-5 on 3’s. He had eight points in less than 2 minutes, on two 3’s and a breakaway dunk, as part of a 19-1 first-half run for TCU that stretched over 9 minutes.

”We kind of played off our defense, which we’re trying to talk about trying to do going forward,” Dixon said. ”We want our defense to feed into our offense.”

The 19-1 burst was part of a bigger run after Lamar led 14-12 about 7 minutes into the game. The Horned Frogs closed the half on a 29-5 run for a 41-19 lead. The Cardinals were 1-of-12 shooting in that span and shot 33.3 percent (19 of 57) overall.

BIG PICTURE

Lamar: The Cardinals have lost four consecutive road games, including an 81-56 loss at No. 8 Kentucky on Nov. 24. TCU and Kentucky were the only major conference teams on Lamar’s schedule. The Cardinals wrapped up non-conference play.

TCU: The Horned Frogs play only twice over the next 19 days, with home games against No. 23 Xavier on Dec. 22 and George Mason on Dec. 30 before opening Big 12 play. The Horned Frogs’ two losses have been by a combined four points but they haven’t played a ranked opponent.

THE `DEFLECTOR’

Samuel walked into the postgame press conference wearing a large purple and silver chain called ”The Deflector.” Similar to a turnover chain in football, ”The Deflector” will be presented to Horned Frogs players who stand out defensively. The chain featuring a glossy TCU logo was a new creation for Saturday.

”It’s basically just playing defense, getting the most deflections,” said Samuel, who had four of TCU’s 10 steals and got all 11 of his rebounds on the defensive end.

CONTRIBUTE OTHER WAYS

TCU senior Desmond Bane, along with Samuel the only returning starters from last season, entered the game fifth in the Big 12 with 17.2 points per game. Bane finished with a season-low six points on 3-of-11 shooting and was 0-for-4 on 3s. But Bane did have five rebounds and four assists without a turnover in his 32 minutes.

MATCHUP RENEWED

The 12th meeting between the two schools was the first since 2010-11 when TCU was still a member of the Mountain West Conference. The Horned Frogs are 10-2 all-time against Lamar, including 9-0 at home.

UP NEXT

Lamar: The Cardinals return home to open the Southland Conference schedule against Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday.

TCU: The Horned Frogs host Xavier as part of the inaugural Big East/Big 12 Battle next Sunday.

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