TCU shocked the college basketball world Thursday afternoon in the Big 12 Tournament, defeating the No.1 Kansas Jayhawks in the quarterfinals, 85-82.
“Great win for our program, our school, our university and a great win for these guys,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “All we did today was make free throws down the stretch, and that’s what we hadn’t done and I think that’s growth and I think that’s maturity and I’m looking forward to getting ready for tomorrow, and I know these guys are as well.”
TCU freshman guard Desmond Bane made three free-throws with 2.5 seconds left to play to break an 82-82 tie, and Kansas missed a potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer.
Dixon didn’t know if Bane was even going to shoot the free throws after the hard hit that drew the foul from beyond the arc.
“He got knocked — he got hit so hard I was wondering if he was going to be able to shoot the free throws,” Dixon said, “He’s the guy we wanted shooting.”
Bane rewarded his coach’s faith by staying cool under pressure.
“We ran a high-ball screen for one of our better penetrators, Alex Robinson, and I know he likes to throw that drift pass to the corner and I was spotting up, hands-free, ready, and he found me and I shot and luckily I got fouled, stepped to the line, all my teammates came up to me, tried to calm me down, make sure everything was cool and I stepped up to the line and knocked ’em down,” Bane said.
The Horned Frogs are now the first No. 8 seed to reach the semifinals of the conference tournament since 2001, and it’s TCU’s first appearance in a conference basketball tournament semifinal since the 2000 Western Athletic Conference tournament semifinals.
Dixon stumped for his team to receive an at-large bid after his team’s milestone win.
“I felt this was an NCAA Tournament team that didn’t get it done for a stretch there and maybe we had to grow into it and maybe we’re growing now rather than two weeks ago,” Dixon said.
TCU had trailed for most of the first half with Kansas hitting four early three-pointers until TCU head coach Jamie Dixon was given a technical foul with 4:19 left in the first half. The team then went a 16-3 to close the half with a one-point lead, 43-42, holding the Jayhawks without a field goal throughout the last 4:22 of the first half. It was the second straight game that TCU didn’t allow a made shot in the last four minutes of the half.
After snapping a seven-game losing streak last night against Oklahoma, the Horned Frogs ended another streak Thursday. The victory put an end to TCU’s 22-game losing streak against ranked opponents since their last win over a ranked foe was a 70-55 victory over No. 21 Oklahoma State on Feb. 14, 2015.
Horned Frog guard Kenrich Williams led TCU in scoring with 18 points, while adding eight rebounds. Bane chipped in an efficient 16 points off the bench on five of six shooting from the field.
Kansas lost to TCU for the first time since the Frogs’ first season as a Big 12 member during the 2012-2013 season. TCU’s 19 wins this season are the most in school history since joining the Big 12.
TCU senior guard Brandon Parrish played in his 130th game for the Horned Frogs, which makes him the all-time leader in games played in program history.
“This is the win of my career, right here, to be completely honest, and there were a lot of times where we would look at things in the media and people would tell us that we were never good enough, we would never be able to get it done,” TCU guard Brandon Parrish said. “This is the high point of my whole career right here and I’m glad to have these guys, my brothers with me to live it up with me.”
Parrish’s teammates agreed.
“Our whole careers have been sort of the underdogs so just coming here and making a run is big for us,” TCU forward Kenrich Williams said. “Of course we had a great year but the year’s not over.”
With the quarterfinals win, TCU will now face No. 23 Iowa State Friday night. The Horned Frogs split their two matchups against the Cyclones this year, winning at home in Fort Worth 84-77 and losing 84-71 on the road in Ames.
Tip-off for Friday’s semifinal matchup at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri is set for 6 p.m.