NICEVILLE, FLA. — Jaylen Fisher scored a career-high 20 points as undefeated TCU toppled St. Bonaventure, 89-79, to win the fourth annual Emerald Coast Classic championship Saturday night at The Arena on the campus of Northwest Florida State College.
TCU extended its winning streak to 11 games — third longest active college streak — dating back to winning the 2017 NIT championship.
The Horned Frogs improved to 6-0 this season in good position to crack the Top 25 polls this week.
TCU slipped past New Mexico (69-67) in the semifinal round Friday and then overpowered a St. Bonaventure team which had knocked off previous unbeaten Maryland (63-61) in the other semifinal round game of the tournament.
“We’re really excited about coming down here with the win.This was a great tournament for us,” said TCU head coach Jamie Dixon. “We beat two good quality teams down here. St. Bonaventure took care of Maryland.
“It was a great tournament, environment and facility. It’s clearly one of the top tournaments around and will continue to grow as it gains notoriety.”
Fisher led a balanced TCU scoring attack that had five players reach double figures.
TCU senior forward Kenrich Williams enjoyed his second straight double-double in the tournament (24th in his career) with 17 points and 12 rebounds en route to being named the outstanding performer of the tournament.
TCU redshirt freshman forward Kouat Noi tied a career high with 14 points, while guard Desmond Bane added 12 and senior forward Vladimir Brodziansky collected 11 points.
Freshman guard Izaiah Brockington led the Bonnies with 20 points followed by senior guard Matt Mobley with 18, Courtney Stockard with 16 and LaDarien Griffin with 13.
Fisher scored 12 points in the second half as TCU shot 55.2 percent from the floor in that period (16-29).
The sophomore guard had been out for 18 weeks with hand and knee injuries before being cleared to play three weeks ago.
“It’s almost like we’ve started over with him (Fisher) as a freshman,” said Dixon. “We’ve seen him get better and better. We’re seeing Jaylen get into that groove now.”
TCU eventually overpowered the scrappy Bonnies (3-2), owning a decisive 38-23 rebounding margin that included a 23-7 advantage in second chance points.
The score was tied four times and the lead changed hands five times in the first seven minutes. The Horned Frogs then broke a 12-12 tie on a pair of free throws by Ahmed Hamdy and maintained a lead that ranged from one to eight points before the first half ended with a 41-36 advantage.
“We should have been ahead by more in the first half, but we’re not there yet, I mean just the simplest way to put it, as far as finishing games,” Dixon said. “In the second half we did a better job.”
There were two ties and two lead changes in the first 3:24 of the second period before TCU broke a 42-42 tie on a three-pointer by Bane. This time the closest the Bonnies could get was three points, while the Frogs expanded their lead to as many as 11 points twice.
“We had chances; we got close a couple times in the second half but could not get over the hump,” said Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt. ”It seemed like (TCU) got a loose ball or a rebound every time they needed it.”
Bane joined Williams on the 10-man all-tournament squad which also included Mobley and Brockington from Saint Bonaventure.
St. Bonaventure played without guard Jaylen Adams, their top returning scorer from last season, who has been sidelined since spraining an ankle during a preseason exhibition game.
The Horned Frogs on Wednesday host Belmont in one of their six remaining nonconference games before beginning Big 12 play.
The Bonnies travel on Wednesday to Siena. It’s one of seven remaining nonconference games before the Bonnies launch their Atlantic 10 schedule.