TCU was going for its first 2-1 start in the Big 12 after beginning conference play with a one-point home loss to then-No. 12 Oklahoma and a three-point overtime road win against Baylor.
Instead, the loss left TCU 1-2 in conference and 0-10 against AP Top 25 teams in their building since it opened Dec. 20, 2015.
“That’s two, second disappointing loss, but we got what we deserved,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “Give them credit, they withstood our comeback after the slow start. We put ourselves in position to win the game, but we’re just not getting it done down the stretch.”
Kansas senior guard Devonte’ Graham, Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, scored 28 points, and guard Svi Mykhailuk chipped in 20 as No. 10 Kansas got revenge from its last matchup with TCU, an 85-82 loss in the Big 12 tournament.
TCU grabbed their first lead since the first two minutes of the night, 71-70, with 5:43 left to play following a Vladimir Brodziansky hook shot. The senior forward finished with a team-high 20 points.
After Mykhailiuk hit a three-pointer to put Kansas up two, 75-73, with 4:38 to play, Kansas attempted 12 free throws to close out the game, making 11.
“Our defense is not where we need it to be, we continue to bail people out and get them to the free throw line and we’ve done it in these two home conference games,” Dixon said. “We have to learn from it.”
However, the Horned Frogs had their opportunities. With Kansas on top by a bucket, 79-77, with about two minutes left, Desmond Bane and Alex Robinson both missed 3-pointers, and Jaylen Fisher’s three-pointer with 32 seconds left was blocked by Mitch Lightfoot with TCU down three, 83-80. The Horned Frogs finished 9-for-29 on 3-pointers.
TCU also found success at the line missing just one of its 22 attempts, but in Dixon’s mind, they didn’t get to the line enough.
“In close games, you have to get more free throws from your opponent,” Dixon said.
Even though the Horned Frogs were called for five more fouls than the Jayhawks, 25-20, Dixon said that disadvantage wasn’t on the officials.
“We have to adjust and learn from it, I’m sure they’re not picking on us,” Dixon said. “It’s on us. If teams are getting more free throws than us, it’s on us. It’s on me.”
An area that kept TCU in the game was its dominance on the glass out-rebounding Kansas by 14, 42-28, including 19 offensive rebounds.
“It’s hard to believe and hard to fathom losing when you out-rebound a team by 14, but we did it,” Dixon said. “We have to finish better around the rim when we get those 19 offensive rebounds, but we didn’t get it done and there’s no one else to blame but ourselves.”
TCU dropped to 2-15 against the 13-time defending conference champions with the two wins against Kansas coming in 2013 in Fort Worth and last year in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.
Despite that history, Kansas took the Horned Frogs seriously.
“Not because of last year, just because of this year and their record this year and what they’ve done,” Devonte’ Graham said. “They’re the 16th-ranked team in the nation. We don’t have time to be taking no teams seriously.”