Senior guard Greg Hill tied a career high with 23 points to help TCU build a seven-point halftime lead, but Air Force sank the Frogs Wednesday during a 70-65 setback at the Falcons’ Clune Arena.
The Frogs, playing in their regular-season finale, dropped to 10-21 overall this season and 1-15 in Mountain West Conference play. Air Force improved to 15-13 overall and 6-9 in the MWC.
TCU posted its top long-range shooting night of the season to help stake its early advantage, but the Falcons responded in the second half with a sizzling effort from the field. Air Force scored 16 of the first 19 points of the second half to turn a 34-27 deficit into a 47-37 advantage. The squad finished the game shooting an even 50 percent, including 66.7 percent (14-of-21) in the second stanza alone.
The Frogs, who trailed by 10 points on two separate occasions in the second half, regrouped both times to tie the game. The final run saw the squad score 10 straight points over a two-minute period to bring itself even with only 1:03 to play. Junior guard Hank Thorns accounted for the the tying basket on a layup.
The Frogs had a chance to move in front on their next possession inside the final 20 seconds, but another Thorns layup attempt glanced off the rim. Falcon guard Michael Lyons was fouled on the rebound and sank a pair of free throws. Air Force then added three more free throws down the stretch to ice the victory.
Hill went 8-of-16 from the field to lead the Frogs, including 6-of-12 from 3-point range. His individual effort helped the Frogs go 14-of-29 from beyond the arc, the most makes in a game for TCU since the squad drilled a school-record 17 during a 2008 MWC tournament loss to UNLV.
Also reaching double figures Wednesday were junior guards J.R. Cadot and Hank Thorns, who both scored 12 points. Thorns also had a fine night handling the point, dishing out a game-high 11 assists for his ninth double-figure performance this season. Junior forward Garlon Green added nine points, while sophomore forward Nikola Cerina led TCU to a 35-24 edge on the glass by pulling down a game-high eight rebounds.
Lyons led Air Force with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting, while forward Derek Brooks added 10 points. Forward Tom Fow made a trio of 3-pointers, helping the Falcons finish 9-for-18 from long range.
Frogs went 7-of-13 from behind the arc in the half and made four of their first five attempts to build their seven-point halftime lead. The seven first-half treys were more than the squad had made for an entire game in five contests dating back to the Feb. 9 home contest against UNLV. Both teams were hot from outside to open the game, combining for seven treys in the opening 6:48. Hill accounted went 3-of-5 from long range, while Thorns was 2-of-4.