Hawaii Warriors vs. Texas Christian Horned Frogs Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 24th 2023


TCU and Hawaii are set for a matchup in the third-place game of the Diamond Head Classic on Sunday in Honolulu, with each looking to rebound from a loss in Friday’s semifinals.

The Horned Frogs (9-2) have won two of their past three and opened the tournament with a 111-87 win over Old Dominion before falling to Nevada, 88-75. The Horned Frogs battled back late in the second half after trailing by double digits, but the gap proved to be too wide as the defense struggled.

Hawaii (8-3) also had a second-half rally on Friday, despite falling behind by as many as 21 points to Georgia Tech. The Rainbow Warriors took a 59-58 lead with 4:35 left, but Georgia Tech pulled away with a 7-2 run, and handed Hawaii a 73-68 defeat.

In each of its first two contests at the Diamond Head Classic, TCU allowed 40 or more points in both halves, marking just the second and third time this season that an opponent scored 80-plus points against TCU. In Friday’s semifinal, Nevada shot 52 percent from the field.

“We haven’t guarded to the level I thought we could,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said on AM 570 KLIF after the loss to Nevada. “That’s the situation we’re in. Our guards are getting beat. We’re not guarding ball screens well enough. I’ve got to do a better job. I’ve taken full responsibility for where we’re at.”

Hawaii head coach Eran Ganot expressed a similar disappointment following his team’s defeat on Friday, especially considering his squad outscored Georgia Tech 41-30 over the final 20 minutes. Ultimately, the first-half struggles put Hawaii in a difficult spot that forced the Rainbow Warriors to battle from behind for much of the game.

“When you get to these kinds of games, you can’t have that kind of start,” Ganot said on ESPN Honolulu postgame of the 43-27 halftime deficit. “I don’t want to (focus) too much on the negative. I was really proud of our guys in the second half. … We weren’t ready to go, and that’s disappointing. But in the meantime, we’ll learn from it (and) grow from it.”

TCU is led offensively by Emanuel Miller, who averages 17.3 points per game, along with a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game. Noel Coleman is Hawaii’s leading scorer, averaging 15.1 points per contest.

–Field Level Media

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