Bane 23 points for No. 21 TCU in 77-69 win over Fresno State
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Desmond Bane finds it easy to score for No. 21 TCU when Alex Robinson is passing him the ball.
Bane scored 15 of his 23 points after halftime, including a breakaway dunk and a fastbreak layup on consecutive passes from Robinson in a 77-69 win over Fresno State on Thursday night.
"We just have a really unselfish team," Bane said. "They hit me in spots where I'm capable of scoring."
All five starters scored in double figures for TCU (3-0).
Robinson had 13 points and a career-high 14 assists, and Kevin Samuel also had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. JD Miller also scored 14 for the Frogs, while RJ Nembhard had 11.
Bane, who made 10 of 15 shots, had a tiebreaking 3-pointer about 2 minutes after halftime to put the Horned Frogs ahead to stay after they trailed at halftime. His consecutive baskets on passes from Robinson came in a later 11-3 run that stretched their lead to 11.
"Good second half for us," coach Jamie Dixon said. "Offensive execution was much better, moved the ball better."
Braxton Huggins had 18 points and New Williams 17 for Fresno State (1-1). Deshon Taylor scored 13.
Nembhard's 3-pointer put TCU up 29-25 with just under 2 minutes left in the first half before the Bulldogs scored the final six points for a 31-29 lead on Huggins' jumper before the buzzer.
Robinson and Bane scored all of the points in a 10-0 TCU run after Fresno scored the game's opening basket. The Bulldogs got even at 10-all on consecutive 3s by Williams and Huggins, but didn't have its first lead until Christian Gray's layup made it 23-22 with 3:17 to go in the first half.
"We started off really slow, it was 10-2, and we called timeout and they came out and responded," new coach Justin Hutson said. "I think that was nice to say, "Hey, OK, we're on the road and let's go back and play Bulldog basketball."
Fresno St.: The Bulldogs haven't won a non-conference game against a Top 25 team since winning 43-42 at Oregon State on Dec. 7, 1982. ... They haven't beaten an AP Top 25 team since a 58-52 win over No. 14 Oklahoma State on Feb. 10, 2002 when Jerry Tarkanian was their coach.
TCU: The Frogs have won 18 consecutive November games, and are off to a 3-0 start just like they were in Dixon's first two seasons.
A DIFFERENT NUMBER
Robinson was asked what the first number he notices on the box score after the game.
For the point guard, it wasn't the points or the assists. It was the four turnovers.
"But 14 and four is pretty good," Robinson said. "I can't be turning the ball over. I knew I had more turnovers than I wanted to."
BOOST FOR LATER
"A good win for us, and they'll be a high RPI team, so that's good. They'll be at the top of the Mountain West," Dixon said. "We got what we wanted out of that."
Junior forward Nate Grimes made his season debut for Fresno after being suspended for the opener. He had eight points on 4-of-10 shooting and six rebounds but the 6-foot-8 post appeared to get winded while playing 21 minutes.
"Nate's going to get better and better," Hutson said. "Eight points and six rebounds in 21 minutes is not bad."
TCU and Fresno State were in the WAC together from 1997-2001. They had last met two seasons ago in Fort Worth, in the NIT opener in March 2017, when the Frogs won 66-59 to start their NIT championship run.
Fresno State is back in California for Thanksgiving, playing Northwestern that day to start the Wooden Legacy tournament. They will play three games in four days in Fullerton before going home for a seven-day homestand that will be the team's longest since 1954-55.
TCU plays the fourth of six consecutive home games to start the season when it hosts Lipscomb on Tuesday night.