After jumping out to an early 15-9 lead, a lack of discipline would plague the Frogs once again. They committed 18 turnovers in their seventh straight home loss to the Cyclones.
“A lot of the turnovers were unforced,” TCU head coach Trent Johnson said. “We are our own achilles heel in big games at crucial times.”
Despite Iowa State committing a whopping 23 turnovers in the contest, it would not be a big enough break for TCU to walk away victorious against a ranked Big 12 opponent for the first time this season.
“If we don’t play with urgency at every position, we are going to struggle against good opponents no matter when or where we are playing them,” Johnson said.
With TCU up 19-15 in the first half, the Frogs’ lead would vanish for good when the Cyclones went on an 11-0 run to make it a 26-19 game. Iowa State would take a 37-28 lead into the locker room at halftime, propelled by a three-point buzzer beater by forward Abdel Nader.
The Cyclones extended their lead to as much as 18 points in the second half, though the Frogs made it a 10-point contest with just under two minutes to play. But several turnovers and missed free-throws by TCU in the final minutes sealed the deal for the Cyclones, who ended the contest with a slam-dunk by Deonte Burton.
Iowa State guard Monte Morris scored a game high of 18 points in the contest, while guard Matt Thomas came in three points behind him at 15. The Cyclones shot 54 percent from the field.
TCU guard Chauncey Collins led the Frogs’ scoring effort with 14 points, while forward Vladimir Brodziansky finished with 12 for the day. The Frogs shot only 39 percent from the field.
Brodziansky said he wasn’t necessarily discouraged by the loss, but the team’s youth is a hurdle when it comes to playing in a conference stacked with ranked teams.
“We need to get better in every part of the game,” Brodziansky said. “We are a really young team, so I guess it’s step by step for us.”
Brodziansky agreed that many of the team’s turnovers were unforced.
“Many of them were silly – we’d throw it out of bounds,” Brodizanksy said. “I know I had three and a travel.”
With yet another loss to a ranked Big 12 opponent, the looming question remains of how lower tier teams in the conference can compete with top 25 teams such as Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, West Virginia and No.1 Oklahoma.
Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said he believes the disparity in the conference is not a bad thing, but it creates a long road for some teams to become a contender in the Big 12.
“This league is really good,” Prohm said. “Getting to the top is not an overnight process.”
With the competition level reaching all time highs, the Frogs will have their work cut out for them moving forward.
TCU returns to action when they face the Texas Longhorns in Austin on Jan. 26. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m