Fresh­man Davis on the rise for Frogs

Star-Telegram - - Sports - BY DREW DAV­I­SON ddavi­[email protected]­gram.com

Ken­dric Davis av­er­aged more than 22 points a game as a se­nior last sea­son at Sam Hous­ton High School.

He topped the 20-point mark for the first time in his young col­lege ca­reer Satur­day at Iowa State, pour­ing in a team-high 22 points on 7-of-10 shoot­ing to lift TCU to an up­set vic­tory.

Davis also had four as­sists to just one turnover in a sea­son-high 29 min­utes of ac­tion. It was a much-needed break­out game for Davis and the Frogs. The goal is now to sus­tain that type of pro­duc­tion down the stretch run, start­ing with to­day’s “Big Mon­day” game against No. 13 Kansas.

“He’s come a long way,” se­nior point guard Alex Robin­son said of Davis. “Ev­ery game he’s got­ten bet­ter. He’s got­ten more com­fort­able with the speed of the game. He’s go­ing to be good for us down the stretch.”

TCU coach Jamie Dixon likes hav­ing two point guards on the floor, and Davis’ emer­gence con­tin­ues to soften what was lost when Jaylen Fisher de­cided to trans­fer last month.

It was seen Satur­day when TCU went with a smaller lineup for much of the game against Iowa State, and posted its most im­pres­sive vic­tory to date. The Cy­clones were se­lected as one of the top 16 teams in the coun­try hours be­fore the game by the NCAA Tour­na­ment’s se­lec­tion com­mit­tee.

“Ken­dric was ter­rific,” Dixon said af­ter­ward. “He was a dif­fer­ence-maker for us. He’s de­fend­ing bet­ter. He’s shoot­ing jump shots now. He’s just be­come a bet­ter player as you hope all fresh­men do as the year pro­gresses.”

What’s the key for Davis to sus­tain it the rest of the way?

“It’s about be­ing con­sis­tent, pre­par­ing the right way,” Dixon said. “Ken­dric has to stay steady. He can’t let one play af­fect the next play. He’s shoot­ing the jump shot now, which he kind of fought us on that a while. Just get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter de­fen­sively.

“And I think he does make us bet­ter on the of­fen­sive end.”

Davis showed why he earned a 4-star rat­ing com­ing out of Sam Hous­ton High, and was a nom­i­nee for the McDon­ald’s All-Amer­i­can Game. As with any sport, there’s been an ad­just­ment pe­riod for Davis.

For as good as Texas high school hoops is, there’s no pre­par­ing for the speed and level of play in the Big 12 ex­cept get­ting game ac­tion. And it helps when your shot is fall­ing like Davis’ did Satur­day.

“I’d been get­ting good looks,” Davis said. “I knew even­tu­ally they would fall.”

Davis pointed to the speed of the game as the big­gest ad­just­ment he’s had to make, say­ing it’s “way dif­fer­ent com­ing straight from high school.”

HELLO, BIG MON­DAY

ESPN’s Big Mon­day is com­ing back to Fort Worth and this TCU-Kansas show­down has plenty of at­ten­tion. The school ex­pects 17 scouts rep­re­sent­ing 14 NBA teams to be in at­ten­dance for the game.

And TCU plans to “White Out” Scholl­maier Arena, sup­ply­ing ev­ery fan in at­ten­dance with a white T-shirt.

It’s the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year that one of col­lege bas­ket­ball’s sig­na­ture dates is com­ing to Fort Worth. The Big Mon­day tra­di­tion made its de­but on Jan. 5, 1987.

TCU hosted its first-ever Big Mon­day con­test last year, de­feat­ing No. 7 West Vir­ginia 82-73.

ESPN an­nounc­ers Bob Wis­chusen, Fran Fraschilla and Holly Rowe are on the call.

BRIEFLY

Se­nior for­ward JD Miller is six points away from join­ing the 1,000point club. He has 994 go­ing into tonight’s game. Robin­son and ju­nior guard Desmond Bane joined the 1,000-point club ear­lier this sea­son.

Sopho­more for­ward Kouat Noi has scored dou­ble-fig­ures in 17 of the 19 games he’s played this sea­son, and the Frogs are 13-4 in those games. Noi has also made a 3-pointer in 22 con­sec­u­tive games and count­ing.

TCU shot 53.2 per­cent from the field against Iowa State. The Frogs are 8-0 this sea­son when shoot­ing more than 50 per­cent, and 33-4 in those games dur­ing Dixon’s ten­ure.

RICH SUGG [email protected]­star.com

TCU hosts Kansas in a Big Mon­day matchup. The Jay­hawks won the first meet­ing be­tween the schools.

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