FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Preseason All-Big 12 guard Desmond Bane scored 26 points with five 3-pointers, Kevin Samuel had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and TCU opened its season with an 83-62 victory over NCAA Division III team Southwestern on Thursday night.
Bane and Samuel are the only returning starters for TCU, which has nine new scholarship players. The Frogs, picked by Big 12 coaches to finish last in the league this season, went to the NIT semifinals last season after being one of the first teams left out of the NCAA Tournament.
Brandon Alexander, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference player of the year last season, led Southwestern with 28 points on 10-of-12 shooting. He was 6 of 8 on 3-pointers.
The Pirates, from Georgetown, Texas, about 160 miles south of the TCU campus, were within 43-40 when Luke Hicks made a layup in the opening minute of the second half. The only time Southwestern led in the game was when Hicks, who finished with 12 points, made a 3-pointer for a 3-2 lead in the first minute of the game before Bane hit consecutive 3s.
TCU then scored 15 in a row early in the second half, a stretch that started when George Mason transfer Jaire Grayer made a 3-pointer. Bane then scored eight consecutive points in an 85-second span, including a 3-pointer and then a three-point play when RJ Nembhard scooped an alley-oop pass to him for an easy layup while being fouled. Nembhard's layup with 15:27 left stretched the Frogs lead to 58-40.
Nembhard finished with 14 points, and Grayer had 13 including three 3-pointers.
Southwestern: Alexander is among seven seniors on the roster for the defending SCAC champions. The game counted as exhibition and the loss won't count in their season record.
TCU: The Frogs shot 52 percent (34 of 65) from the field and won like they are supposed to in a season opener against overmatched competition. Getting outrebounded 35-33 might be a little bit of a concern.
Southwestern: Will be closer to home when the Pirates play Tuesday night at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas.
TCU: Plays the second of four consecutive home games to start the season, against Louisiana-Lafayette on Tuesday night.
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