FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — First-year TCU coach Jamie Dixon did a double-take when he saw the possibility that the Horned Frogs would have back-to-back games against Washington.
When it actually happened, he stressed to his team the need to come out hungrier after beating the Huskies four days earlier in Las Vegas. Then TCU fell behind by 17 points in the first 10 minutes.
“Obviously that worked really well,” Dixon said, able to enjoy a little sarcasm after his alma mater stayed unbeaten by rallying for an 86-71 win Wednesday night. “I'm working on that speech again.”
Alex Robinson scored 16 points, including nine on an 18-0 run that wiped out that early deficit, and freshman guard Jaylen Fisher had 14 of his 15 after halftime in the rare back-to-back meeting of non-conference foes.
Robinson had a career-high 24 points in the first meeting of the Big 12 and Pac-12 opponents in the Global Sports Classic on Saturday. The Horned Frogs (7-0) won that one 93-80, but had just three points nearly nine minutes into the rematch after missing 15 of their first 17 shots.
The sophomore guard from Fort Worth capped the 18-0 run with a 3-pointer for a 23-22 lead.
“We weren't even looking at the score to be honest,” said Robinson, who had seven assists and three steals. “We were just focused play by play. We knew if we got stops then eventually we would come back.”
Freshman Markelle Fultz led the Huskies (4-3) with 21 points, 14 rebounds and six assists — but had six of the Huskies' season-high 25 turnovers. Carlos Johnson added 13 points and eight boards.
“It's our first away game,” said Fultz, who said he took an elbow that bloodied his mouth early in the game. “When they started to come back, I think the adversity got to us and we were just rushing things.”
The Frogs went ahead for good on a 3-pointer late in the first half by JD Miller, who had 12 points. Kenrich Williams had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists while matching Robinson with three steals, a game high.
After trailing by 17, TCU took its first 17-point lead with four minutes remaining when Miller blocked a layup attempt by Dominic Green and Robinson converted a three-point play at the other end for a 75-58 advantage.
HERE COME THE ZAGS
Fultz, a likely one-and-done player who drew representatives from 16 NBA teams in his visit to Texas, will get his second true road game closer to his college home. The Huskies play at No. 8 Gonzaga on Dec. 7. “I've heard about the crowd and stuff,” Fultz said. “We've just got to get mentally focused for that game.”
It's the fourth time since 1979-80 that Washington has played a non-conference opponent twice in the same season, but the second time in as many years. Washington beat Texas in last season's opener in China before the Longhorns won in the Bahamas. … The last time Washington played the same non-conference opponent in back-to-back games was at Hawaii in 1975-76, winning both. … TCU finished the 2009-10 season with consecutive losses to Mountain West Conference foe BYU. The Frogs beat Tulsa twice in non-conference in 2013-14 before going 0-18 in Big 12 play.
Washington: The Huskies were dominant early behind Fultz but faded fast. They haven't shown much depth behind the McDonald's All-American and will need to find some to be competitive in the Pac-12.
TCU: The Frogs had some strong preseasons under former coach Trent Johnson as well, so it remains to be seen what this means with the difficult Big 12 season looming. But the Frogs have two straight wins over Power 5 conference foe (Washington) led by a top NBA prospect.
Washington: The Huskies get a week off before the visit to the Zags in the biggest test left before the start of Pac-12 play against Washington State on New Year's Day.
TCU: This was the start of eight straight games in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, seven at home. Arkansas State visits Saturday. The lone road game is at SMU. The last two in this home stretch are the first two in Big 12 play: No. 4 Kansas on Dec. 30 and unranked Oklahoma, a No. 2 seed in last season's NCAA Tournament, on Jan. 3.