Samuel another TCU double-double in 65-54 win over Air Force

Contact us:

3446 Summerhill Road
Texarkana TX 75503

TCU forward RJ Nembhard (22) shoots over Air Force forward Lavelle Scottie (12) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Fort Worth, Texas, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. (Bob Booth/Star-Telegram via AP)


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kevin Samuel became the first TCU player in 25 years with three consecutive double-doubles to start a season, with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Horned Frogs’ 65-54 win over Air Force on Monday night.

RJ Nembhard added 15 points and five assists while Francisco Farabello had 11 points for the Horned Frogs, who have started 3-0 in each of Jamie Dixon’s four seasons at his alma mater.

Air Force (2-2) got within one point with 7:45 left, after trailing by as many as 14 in the second half, before Nembhard had a layup to start a game-ending 13-3 run.

Ryan Swan’s nine points lead the Falcons, who had three other players score eight.

The last TCU player with three consecutive double-doubles to start a season was Kurt Thomas in 1994-95, when he started his senior season with seven in a row before becoming a first-round NBA draft pick and playing for nine teams over 18 seasons.

“Wow, just to hear that, it’s amazing,” said Samuel, the 6-foot-11 sophomore center from Barbuda, when told he had done something at TCU that hadn’t been done since before he was born.

TCU led 39-25 after a spurt in the final minute of the first half when Samuel had two highlight dunks on alley-oop passes from Nembhard, who then had a steal and a layup.

Air Force went into the half after Caleb Morris hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, putting the shot up a few steps after crossing midcourt.

The Horned Frogs had pushed their lead back to 14 after Samuel had three more baskets and Nembhard a 3-pointer in the first 3½ minutes of the second half before Air Force scored 11 points in a row.

“We got exactly what we thought, a disciplined, old, experienced good Air Force team that no one wanted to play,” Dixon said. “I think it made us better. I liked our defensive discipline, our patience.”

It was the first time TCU and Air Force placed since 2011-12, when they were in the Mountain West Conference together.

Lavelle Scottie, the senior forward from Fort Worth, started the late spurt by the Falcons with a dunk and added two free throws. A.J. Walker, another Texas kid, had a layup to get them within 48-45 before Desmond Bane’s breakaway layup.

But Air Force missed its next four shots after getting within 52-51.

“We couldn’t get over the hump,” Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich said. “It was a great game for us though right now. Playing a quality Big 12 opponent on the road, I think we grew from it. As we move forward, this will definitely help us.”


Air Force: The Falcons, who returned all five starters from last year, were coming off their first road win ever at Army. But their only lead was 5-2 before a 3-pointer by Bane.

TCU: Bane, the Big 12’s top returning scorer from last year, had scored 26 and 25 points in the first two games. He was limited to seven points on 2-of-11 shooting (1 of 6 on 3s). He was back on the court shooting about a half-hour after the game.


TCU got a boost earlier Monday when Ohio State transfer Jaedon LeDee was granted an NCAA eligibility waiver to be able to play this season. The 6-foot-9 sophomore forward appeared in 26 games for the Buckeyes last season. In his TCU debut, he had four rebounds and a blocked shot while playing about 8½ minutes.


Air Force goes from Texas to the Bahamas where the Falcons play three games in four days. They play Loyola Marymount on Thursday.

TCU wraps up a season-opening four-game homestand on Thursday night against UC Irvine.