Despite pulling within four points late in the second half, shooting failures plagues TCU men’s basketball Saturday afternoon, falling 60-46 to No. 3 Kansas to drop their fifth-straight game.
The Horned Frogs shot just 35 percent as a team.
Center Udoka Azubuike and guard Devon Dotson were the Jayhawks’ lone sources of offense, combining for 38 points. Dotson also added 11 assists.
“Azubuike’s obviously really good. He’s probably the best big man in the country,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “Dotson’s probably the best point guard in the country.”
While the duo shot 17-for-31 combined, the rest of the team finished just 7-for-27.
Azubuike certainly won the battle of two of the Big 12’s premier big men, holding TCU center Kevin Samuel to just one field goal attempt and zero points.
He added 15 rebounds, the main reason why the Jayhawks out-rebound the Frogs 44-31.
“We got to get him [Samuel] the ball more, but we have to get more efficient as well,” Dixon said. “I think he did a lot of good things; obviously, scoring wasn’t one of them”
The win was the 700th in Kansas’ head coach Bill Self’s career. He becomes the second-fastest NCAA Division I coach to reach the milestone — just nine months behind former Indiana head coach Bob Knight.
Guard Desmond Bane finished with 20 points and five rebounds for TCU. The senior now has 1,630 career points, tying him with Reggie Smith for fifth on TCU’s all-time scoring list.
The Frogs looked energized defensively in the opening minutes. Kansas started the game 0-for-8 from the field, allowing TCU to take an early 6-2 lead.
However, The Jayhawks cleaned things up as Azubuike, the Big 12’s leader in field goal percentage (76.3 percent), took over. The center hit six-straight shots, five of which were dunks, to lead Kansas on a 17-5 run, giving them the lead and control of the game.
Meanwhile, the Frogs couldn’t buy a bucket on offense, going through a 6:40 scoring drought at one point. They shot just 30 percent in the first half.
TCU’s poor shooting and Azubuike’s continued dominance would give the Frogs a 31-18 deficit going into the halftime break.
Eighteen points were TCU’s lowest first-half total this season.
While Azubuike finished the first 20 minutes 7-for-10 from the field, the rest of the Jayhawks stood at just 6-for-26.
TCU wasn’t ready to go away in the second half. Although their poor shooting continued, their strong defense kept Kansas from extending their lead further.
Finally, the Frogs got it going offensively. A 7-0 run, capped off by an alley-oop from guard R.J. Nembhard to guard P.J. Fuller, pulled TCU within five with 8:29 left to play.
The Frogs would get as close as four — but fouls called on TCU on two consecutive plays seemed to put a stop to their momentum. Kansas took advantage and pushed their lead back to double digits, where it would stay for the remainder of the game.
“We were playing with enthusiasm,” Bane said about TCU’s late run. “We were playing hard, playing for each other.”
Nembhard and Fuller joined Bane in double figures, combining for 21 points. Of TCU’s 46 points, 41 had come from that trio.
The loss drops TCU to 13-10 overall and 4-6 in Big 12 play. They have now lost six of their last seven conference games.
“I just want to tell the young guys about my experiences and the things I’ve been through,” Bane said. “I’ve been in this position before, and there are still a lot of quality opportunities out there.”
Up next, TCU will travel to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. Monday.