TCU broke open a tight game midway through the first half and handed the Charlotte 49ers an 82-57 setback early Sunday in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic.
The Horned Frogs put together a 16-3 run, building a 14-point lead, and coasted the rest of the way in the final game of the tournament’s opening round.
Mistakes scuttled the 49ers’ chances, as TCU piled up a 35-5 edge in points off turnovers. Charlotte committed 21 turnovers in the game.
The 49ers (3-6), who will face Rhode Island in a consolation bracket semifinal (12:30 a.m. Monday), stuck with the Big 12’s Horned Frogs (9-1) for part of the first half.
After TCU took an 18-12 lead, the 49ers battled back, with Dravon Mangum, Jon Davis and Jaylan McGill scored eight of the next nine points. That left the score tied 19-19 with 8:34 left in the half.
But the Horned Frogs turned up the defense, blocking the next two Charlotte shots and getting three steals – two by senior point guard Alex Robinson – to fuel their run. Six minutes later, TCU led 35-21.
The 49ers made a brief surge in the second half, cutting TCU’s lead to 56-37 on a 3-pointer by Brandon Younger, but the Horned Frogs pulled away.
Charlotte shot 44 percent from the floor, but TCU had 18 more shot attempts than the 49ers, due in large part to the big difference in turnovers (the Horned Frogs had only eight).
Records: Charlotte is 3-6; TCU is 9-1.
Three who mattered
Kouat Noi, TCU: A 6-7 reserve forward from Australia, Noi led the Horned Frogs with 15 points and hit 3-of-7 shots from 3-point range.
Jaylen Fisher, TCU: Fisher scored 14 points and added four rebounds and three assists.
Jon Davis, Charlotte: The 49ers’ season leading scorer, Davis had a game-high 17 points and five rebounds.
▪ The 49ers’ perimeter defense held TCU to 25 percent shooting on 3-pointers. The Horned Frogs hit 7-of-28.
▪ Alex Robinson of TCU tied the tournament record with 11 assists. He shares the mark with Washington State’s Ike Iroegbu, who established the record in 2015.
▪ The 49ers held their own on the boards with the Horned Frogs, losing the rebound battle 34-29. Jailan Haslem had seven rebounds and Malik Martin added six.
▪ This game marked the first time TCU has beaten Charlotte, as the 49ers won the teams’ previous two meetings. However, the last time they played each other was in 2005.
Charlotte faces Rhode Island early Monday (Charlotte time) in the consolation bracket semifinals; TCU plays Bucknell on Sunday night in the championship bracket semifinals.