The Big 12 Conference is a scary place to play basketball.
Records, locations, personnel, winning streaks, losing streaks – none of it matters when two teams from the nation’s top hardwood conference meet.
TCU basketball found out all too well on Saturday as the team put together one of the worst Horned Frog performances in recent history, falling to 1-13 (conference play) Kansas State 62-54 at Schollmaier Arena.
Previously, the Wildcats had not won a Big 12 game since Dec. 15 (74-65 win over Iowa State), as they were riding a 13-game conference losing streak entering the contest.
In the last five minutes of the game, TCU made zero field goals, watching its five-point lead turn into an eight-point deficit on a 16-5 run by Kansas State to end the game.
The Frogs looked lost all afternoon, committing 14 turnovers and shooting a miserable 31% (including just 22% from deep) from the floor as a team.
“Down five, they [Kansas State] kept battling and came up with the loose balls,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “That’s when the rebound numbers flipped.”
Despite having a serious size advantage, TCU was also outrebounded 38-32 by Kansas State, who outscored the Frogs 30-16 in points in the paint.
At just 6-2, Wildcat guard Mike McGuirl tied for a game-high with nine rebounds, joining three other KSU players with five or more boards. The senior also led the game with 16 points, 12 of which came in the first half.
Though guards R.J. Nembhard (14) and Mike Miles (13) were able to finish with double digit points for TCU, their combined 6-for-24 shooting was a microcosm of the Frogs’ inability to score efficiently all game long.
“Our assist numbers the last few games have clearly shown that we are not getting the shots we want to get,” head coach Jamie Dixon said.
TCU dished out just six assists in the game, including just a measly two in the second half.
The lone bright spot in the game for TCU was its performance from the free throw line. Entering the game as the Big 12’s worst from the charity stripe (65%), the Frogs hit 20 of their 23 attempts in the contest.
Even during the moment TCU showed the most energy all afternoon, things did not fall the Frogs’ way.
Late in the second half, guard P.J. Fuller soared for a monstrous chase-down block on K-State’s DaJuan Gordon. Though the play appeared to be a clean block, Fuller was called for a personal foul followed by a technical foul for standing over Gordon afterwards.
Regardless of whether it was a foul, Dixon said after the game, “We [TCU] never should have been in that position.”
The sequence resulted in a shoving match between the two teams that had to be broken up by the referees. After all of the technical fouls were assessed, TCU’s lead was wiped away, and the game was tied at 46.
Kansas State soaked up all the momentum from the play and shut TCU down for the rest of the game, handing the Frogs a loss in their first game in a week.
Now the losers of two straight, TCU has quite a tall task on Tuesday night as No. 13 West Virginia University comes to town. Tip-off with the Mountaineers is scheduled for 6 p.m. on ESPNU.