J.R. Cadot knows his time is ticking.
“I look myself in the mirror almost every night and tell myself ‘hey this is your last go-round,” Cadot said. “You got the last few games to prove and show the world what you can do.”
The senior proved plenty Saturday night.
Cadot scored a game-high 15 points and led TCU with 10 rebounds, as the Frogs blew out No. 18 New Mexico 83-64 Saturday night at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
The win was TCU’s second in a row over a ranked opponent, something the Frogs have now only accomplished twice in school history. TCU (17-11 overall, 7-5 Mountain West) beat then-No. 11 UNLV 102-97 in overtime Feb. 14.
Cadot said the Frogs did Saturday night what they’ve been trying to do all season long – prove people wrong.
“Before the season, Hank (Thorns) made a statement and told a lot of people we were going to win a lot of games and they didn’t believe him,” Cadot said. “But he’s got a big heart and I got a big heart and putting two big hearts together is terrific. You can’t replace two big hearts.”
Thorns was equally complimentary of Cadot, who had five rebounds and six points during the final 11 minutes of the game.
“J.R. is a beast,” Thorns said “He does everything you ask him to do and he never complains and never gets mad. He’s a great team player.”
Saturday night’s game didn’t have is much drama as TCU’s win over the Rebels – but there was plenty of excitement.
After battling to a 38-38 tie at halftime, the two teams exchanged buckets during the first six minutes of the second half, running the score to a 48-48 tie with 13:48 left in the game.
That’s when TCU went to work.
Amric Fields missed a three-pointer but the rebound was slammed in by Connell Crossland, who made his fourth career start Saturday night and finished with five rebounds.
Cadot said Crossland’s point total might mave been small, but his impact wasn’t.
“You can’t replace a guy like Connell,” Cadot said. “Everywhere around America, you need guys that come in and give it everything you got.”
But Fields was the difference-maker for TCU in the second half.
The sophomore went scoreless in first half and was 0-for-9 from the field before making a free throw for his first point of the game then draining a three-pointer to put TCU up 54-48.
Fields found his way to the line again, sinking both free throws then stealing the ball on the other end before scoring a breakaway layup to give the Frogs a 10 point lead.
Thorns said it was just a matter of time before Fields caught fire.
“Amric is a dominant player when he wants to be,” Thorns said. “I thought he kept a good mindset and we kept him confident all throughout the game. We’re not worried about him scoring, because we know he can score. He’s in here every night shooting.”
New Mexico (22-6 overall, 8-4 Mountain West) wouldn’t get much closer after the spark by Fields, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
Hugh Greenwood cut the game to 58-51 with a three-pointer on the Lobos’ next possession but TCU extended its lead right back. Thorns hit a free throw then a three-pointer off the miss to give the Frogs a commanding 62-51 lead.
Thorns finished with 14 points and nine assists on 3-of-6 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Four of those foul shots came in the last two minutes of the game and helped TCU bury the Lobos.
“We got them,” Thorns said when asked what was going through his head as TCU held a double-digit lead the last minute of the game. “That’s my first time beating New Mexico.”
TCU held New Mexico to 30.8 percent (8-of-26) shooting in the second half. Christian said it was his defense’s best-played game of the year.
“I thought it was, without question, the best defensive game we’ve played all year,” Christian said. “We deflected so many passes. Guys were anticipating guarding the ball better than we’ve guarded all year.”
And as far as effort goes, you couldn’t beat what the Frogs put out there Saturday night, Christian said.
“It’s as hard as team I’ve ever been around has played on a particular night,” Christian said.
TCU will be back in action Tuesday night when it travels to Wyoming. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CT.