LAS VEGAS — TCU coach Jamie Dixon has so much versatility with his group this season, he may have several different starting lineups.
That flexibility is paying off as sophomore reserve guard Alex Robinson scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Horned Frogs to a 93-80 victory over Washington in the Global Sports Classic on Saturday night at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
“We have guys we don’t think of as bench, but more guys,” said Dixon whose team outscored Washington’s reserves 48-18. “Depth is a strength. I didn’t anticipate it when I took the job. We’re having fun. (The players) have bought in. They committed and they’ve sacrificed.”
Karviar Shepherd added 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting both from the field and free-throw line for TCU (6-0), which shot 53 percent from the field and never trailed. Vladimir Brodziansky contributed 12 points, Kenrich Williams had 11 and Jaylen Fisher 10 for the Horned Frogs.
This is the first of two consecutive games between the teams that are from different Power 5 conferences. They play Wednesday at TCU.
“It’s a blessing to be playing this well early in the season and to be part of this,” Robinson said. “We have full confidence in ourselves. We feel we come out and beat anybody. Our coach gives confidence. We just rally behind him with our energy.”
Washington’s Markelle Fultz finished with 27 points, but fouled out with seven minutes left. Fultz, who is averaging 23 points per game, went 8 of 13 from the field and 10 of 12 from the free-throw line.
“He was on his way to 40,” said Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, who was coaching his 650th career game. “He got going. When he gets going, he’s something.”
In the second half, Washington cut the lead to 39-35, and later to 54-52, before the Horned Frogs put it away with a 19-6 run.
TCU’S FAST START
The Horned Frogs started the game with a 19-4 run spanning the first seven and a half minutes of the game.
“I don’t think there is any question we came out flat and they came out with great energy,” Romar said. “That’s a bad combination for the team that comes out flat. We got down and we should have been down.”
TCU expanded the lead to 26-10, its largest margin, with 8:06 until halftime. Then, the Huskies defense started forcing turnovers and trimmed the TCU lead to 35-31 before the Horned Frogs scored the last four points of the half. Faultz ended with 16 points before intermission.
TCU from the line went 26 of 33 (79 percent). However, three of those misses were on one trip by Robinson, who failed on all his attempts with 13:23 left after being fouled on a 3-point attempt from the left corner. Robinson finished 4 of 6 from the foul line.
“(After) coach said, `find your target,” Robinson said. “It got me going. We really rally behind our coaches.”
The Huskies from the line finished 19 of 23 (82 percent).
Both teams play each other again on Wednesday at TCU. This will be the second game of a home-and-home series from 2015-16 season. The Huskies won the previous affair in December a year ago in Seattle, 92-67.