With just over three minutes remaining in the first half, things were just how TCU wanted it to be — the Frogs were up by 20 on the Oklahoma Sooners with their eighth conference victory all but secured.
Not only was it senior night, but it was the final regular-season home game for Desmond Bane–TCU’s all-time leader in wins and three-point field goals.
Bane had scored 16 to that point and it looked like the guard was on his way to a career night for his final Big 12 game at Schollmaier.
Things didn’t finish the way they were supposed to, though. Oklahoma’s Austin Reaves exploded for 41 points as the Sooners stole a win right out of TCU’s grasps.
“I feel like we just gave him confidence,” Bane said. “He had a great game, great day, but we have to be better defensively, no question.”
His previous career-high was 24 points, but Reaves scored 25 points in the second half alone, including a jumper over Bane and guard R.J. Nembhard with less than a second left to give Oklahoma a 78-76 win in Fort Worth.
Bane finished with 24 points, five rebounds and six assists. The lone bright spot in the game had been the Richmond, Indiana, native’s four-made 3-pointers, giving him 247 in his career and sole possession of first place on TCU’s all-time list.
Fellow senior Jaire Grayer, who spent his previous three years at George Mason, finished with a season-high 18 points.
“Just catching it in rhythm, shooting my shots, my teammates finding me, having confidence in my shot,” Grayer said about keys to his performance.
TCU’s final senior, guard Edric Dennis, scored just two points on 16 minutes played.
The Frogs held an 18-point lead at halftime, which was their season-high for Big 12 play.
Things gradually went downhill from there, though. Playing for seeding in the Big 12 tournament, the Sooners did not go down without a fight.
Back-to-back threes by Oklahoma forward Kristian Doolittle cut TCU’s lead to just seven with 7:14 to play.
The Frogs would bump the lead back up to 13 a few minutes later, but it would be all about the Sooners from there.
“You just can’t make the plays that we played,” head coach Jamie Dixon said. “We fouled in the back court, we fouled on the three, we fouled in the dead corner with no guy shooting; you just can’t do that.”
TCU committed 21 fouls in the game. Oklahoma finished 19-of-24 from the line.
Reaves scored 13 points in the last 4:20 of the game.
The Sooners had hit eight of their nine threes on the game in the second half alone.
The loss came despite the Frogs shooting 57.1% from behind-the-arc (season-high for Big 12 play) and dishing out 21 assists.
Oklahoma improves to 9-9 in conference play and third in the Big 12 standings. Meanwhile, TCU finishes 7-11 and seventh overall.
“It’s not fun, of course,” Bane said of the senior night loss. “We still have a lot of basketball left to play. We can still finish this season on a strong note, and that’s really what’s most important to me.”
The Frogs will next head to Kansas City for the 2020 Big 12 Tournament, facing Kansas State in the first round. Tip-off is scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m.