Slow start plagues men’s basketball as Frogs make early Big 12 tournament exit

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TCU head coach Jamie Dixon’s fourth season will likely not finish with a postseason appearance. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto

TCU men’s basketball saw just four players score and a comeback effort fall just short, as the Frogs lost to Kansas State 53-49 in the first round of the Big 12 tournament.

In what may have been his last game, guard Desmond Bane finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in the loss. The game was the senior’s 141st of his career, a TCU basketball record.

Once trailing by as much as 17, the Frogs took a four-point lead on a Kevin Samuel jumper with 3:39 left.

TCU missed its next four shots, though, giving way to an 8-0 run by Kansas State that sent the Frogs packing earlier than expected.

On TCU’s final offensive possession, guard RJ Nembhard got a wide-open look for the lead with five seconds remaining, but it hit the back of the rim.

Nembhard, who showed vast improvement in his sophomore campaign, finished with a game-high 19 points to go with four assists.

The fact that TCU was ever in the game was something that would’ve been hard to believe for anyone watching the first half.

After K-State won the tip, it was all Wildcats for the first 20 minutes.

It took almost four minutes for TCU to score their first basket. Meanwhile, Kansas State started the game hot. The Wildcats went up 11-2, then 25-8, before Jamie Dixon and the Horned Frogs even found any sort of stride.

Nembhard was able to keep the Frogs in the game as he scored 12 points in the first half alone, pulling the Frogs within 10 at the break.

Bane looked determined in the second half to do whatever he could to send TCU to the next round. The guard scored 14 of his 16 in the second half.

Tight defense on one end and Bane’s offense on the other slowly pulled the Frogs back into the game. With 11:39 to go, the game was tied for the first time since the opening tip.

TCU recorded seven blocks, with four of them coming from Samuel.

A late 10-2 run gave TCU a 49-45 lead, but any momentum the Frogs had found quickly slipped away, sealing their fate.

Along with Bane and Nembhard, only Samuel and PJ Fuller (seven points apiece) scored for TCU in the contest.

The Frogs finish the season at an even 16-16. TCU will find out whether their season will continue in the postseason Sunday at 7:30 p.m. during the NIT selection show.