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Wednesday, January 21, 2004
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Frogs falter from the free-throw line
On a poor shooting night, the Frogs fell to the DePaul Blue Demons Tuesday night 61-54 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

By Brent Yarina
Sports Editor

The free-throw line was anything but free for the Horned Frogs Tuesday night against the DePaul Blue Demons.

In a contest where TCU (6-10, 2-3 C-USA) visited the charity stripe eight more times than DePaul, the Frogs failed to take advantage of their opportunities, hitting on only 10 of their 20 attempts.

“It’s pretty frustrating,” head coach Neil Dougherty said. “We have got to figure out a way to step up to the line and make them.”

Despite the Frogs’ shooting woes from the line, the two teams were locked in a tight game from beginning to end. The Blue Demons controlled the tempo of the game and the scoreboard all night, but the Frogs were never able to cut the DePaul lead in the second half to under 4 points, leading to a 61-54 defeat.

DePaul head coach Dave Leitao said he was happy with the pace of the game, and his defense was the reason the Blue Demons were able to hang on.

“I liked the pace of the game because when the pace of the game slowed down, they couldn’t get any spurts,” Leitao said. “I was very happy with the pace of the game because our defense dictated it.”

DePaul’s freshman reserve forward Marcus Heard scored all 10 of his points in the second half, including two clutch 3-pointers, and grabbed 5 rebounds in only 18 minutes of action. Last week’s Conference USA Player of the Week Drake Diener led the Blue Demons’ balanced offensive attack, scoring 12 points.

The Frogs’ troubles did not end at the free throw line, however. The team also had a tough shooting night from behind the 3-point line.

“It’s a good thing we weren’t on TV tonight, huh?” Dougherty said. “If you’re looking for me to make a statement, I’m looking for someone who can teach shooting. I wish I could shoot it for them.”

With a great size advantage on their side, DePaul was able to confuse the Frogs’ offense with a 2-3 zone all night, causing TCU to rely on the 3-point shot too often. The Frogs were successful on only eight of their 30 3-point attempts.

Junior guard Marcus Shropshire, who led the Frogs with 15 points, said the team got numerous open looks but that they could not connect.

“The main thing was that we just couldn’t get the ball in the hole,” Shropshire said. “Anytime you shoot 30 and only make eight, it’s going to be tough.”

Dougherty said with time and more experience against the 2-3 zone, the Frogs will learn how to handle this defensive scheme that has troubled them the last two games. He said by next season he expects better shooting nights against the zone.

“I hope in about another year or so we are laughing at people when they are sitting in the zone, because you’ll have your whole arsenal as to how to attack one properly,” Dougherty said.

Junior guard Corey Santee turned in an all-around performance with 15 points, six assists and three steals.

Dougherty said the team’s role players must start shooting the ball better because it will benefit the entire team, in particular the team’s offensive leaders, Shropshire and Santee.

“Nucleus Smith has got to start shooting the ball better and (Aaron) Curtis because people are just going to tag-team Santee and Shropshire, giving them more difficult looks.”
Basketball photo
Stephen Spillman/Staff Photographer
Sophomore forward Chudi Chinweze goes against DePaul forward Quemont Greer in an effort to bring the Frogs back into Tuesday’s game at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. TCU lost 61-54.

Top Frog

°15 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists

°Marcus Shropshire led all Horned Frogs in scoring with 15 points Tuesday night in a 61-54 defeat to DePual. Shropshire was the only consistent Frog from beyond the 3-point line, connecting on 5-of-12 attempts. Aside from his production from 3-point land, the rest of the Frogs were a collective 3-of-18 from long distance.