TCU made free throws down the stretch to secure a 77-72 victory.
The Frogs (5-2) had four players in double figures, led by Kyan Anderson with a career-high 15. J.R. Cadot had 14 points and four assists. Craig Williams dominated the boards with a game- and career-high 13 rebounds. Charlie Harper and Miles Anthony each had 21 for Lamar (4-3).
“This is a good basketball team we played tonight,” head coach Jim Christian said. “As I told our team, this is going to be a game you’re going to look back in March and say, ‘That was a nice win.’”
TCU had a 69-65 lead with 2:45 left. Harper cut the lead to two with a jumper. Hank Thorns missed a layup, but Williams hit the putback to give the Frogs a 72-69 lead.
Lamar missed a three with just under a minute left and was forced to foul to extend the game. Thorns came to the line for the Frogs with 26.4 seconds remaining, but only hit one of two. Harper’s turnaround jumper at the elbow cut the lead to 73-71.
Amric Fields was fouled on the ensuing in-bounds pass and hit both free throws to extend the lead to 75-71. Davis missed a three-pointer, but Harper got fouled on the putback attempt. He hit one free throw to cut the lead to 3.
Devon Lamb picked up his fifth foul to send Thorns back to the line with one second left to seal the victory.
TCU won the battle on the glass, 42-40. The Frogs had 25 defensive rebounds, close to the team goal of thirty, Christian said.
“If you can get thirty defensive rebounds a game, then you’re going to be top 10 in the country,” Christian said. “I thought we rebounded the ball much better. Again, we out-rebounded them. This is the 28th ranked rebounding team in the country, so I thought we rebounded the ball pretty well.”
Lamar came out firing in the second half. Two three-pointers and a pair of layups cut the Frogs’ lead to 41-40 with just under 16 minutes remaining.
Cadot answered for the Frogs with an old-fashioned three-point play to pull the lead out to four. But a three by Anthony brought Lamar within one, 44-43.
Lamar took its final lead of the game at 51-50 with 11:39 remaining.
“We’ve been struggling coming out in the second half, coming out slow,” Thorns said. “Maybe we have to change the warmup or something, but we’ve got to get everybody going.”
Adrick McKinney got the lead back for the Frogs on a hook shot, sparking a run by the Frogs to take a 60-55 lead with just under seven minutes remaining.
TCU and Lamar traded free throws, but layups by Anderson and Williams extended the Frogs’ lead to 67-61.
Osas Ebomwonyi’s dunk cut the lead back to four, but a steal and layup by Cadot gave the Frogs a 69-63 lead with three minutes remaining. Anthony cut the lead to 69-65.
TCU had a 40-30 halftime lead. The Frogs held Lamar to 34.5 percent shooting in the first half, including zero for five from three-point land.
“I think we approach [the second half] lackadaisical,” Thorns said. “I think we could pick it up a little bit more. Championship teams play the same way every time, and that’s what we’ve got to learn.”
The Horned Frogs will hit the road for a Dec. 3 matchup with Evansville. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
“They’re a great team at home,” Christian said. “They beat Butler at home, so it’s not going to get much easier for us as we go on the road here.”