Hoping to make the game a memorable return for TCU legend James Cash Jr., the Frogs went to the wire against Air Force but were unable to make shots down the stretch, falling 66-65.
TCU was led by Garlon Green with 16 points while Derek Brooks of Air Force led all scorers with 18. TCU had multiple opportunities to put the game away but were unable to capitalize.
“We missed a point blank lay-up with 35 seconds to go. We gave up a lay-up… We came back down 5 with two and a half minutes to go. WE hadn’t done that in a while so that was good to see. But I’m disappointed obviously. We played well enough to have a chance to win the game,” said Coach Jim Christian.
TCU started out strong on a 9-0 run to take an early six point lead. This lead was aided by good defense, including a shot clock violation, and poor shooting by the Falcons, including 26.7 percent from the field and hitting 1 of 7 from behind the three point line.
TCU was able to build up a 16-11 lead off a three by Hank Thorns and a pair of baskets by Amric Fields. However, the Falcons played solid defense and capitalized on a fast break lay-up to tie the game at 16. A three-pointer by Tom Fow helped Air Force take a 19-16 lead.
TCU and Air Force traded baskets which included a pair of threes by TCU. But Air Force started to hit shots, making four of five in the last three and a half minutes. TCU went 3 of seven in that span.
Fow tacked on a three as time expired to give the Falcons a 29-24 halftime lead.
TCU basketball legend James Cash had his number retired during the intermission. Cash was the first African American to play in the Southwest Conference and is a member of the TCU lettermen’s hall of Fame.
TCU came out on fire in the second half, with Greg hill hitting a three and Thorns tying the game at 29-29 on the ensuing possession. TCU took a 41-36 lead at the 12 minute mark after three pointers by Garlon Green and Fields. The Frogs started feeding the ball inside to Nickola Cerina and added to their lead, 47-39.
But the Falcons Derek Brooks hit a three and completed a three point play to cut the Frogs lead to two points. Air Force tied the game 51-51 with just over four minutes left. Brooks hit another three to give Air Force the lead.
The deficit for TCU grew to six but a three point play by Cerina and bucket by Green tied the game with just under a minute left.
An air ball by Air Force gave TCU a chance with 27 seconds left to put the game away.
Thorns’ drive to the basket resulted in a blocking foul on Air Force. Thorns was unable to convert on the front end of the one and one. TCU had another chance but the inbounds pass was stolen with 1.7 seconds left, forcing overtime.
“We knew that we shouldn’t have been in that situation from the get go and I tip my hat off to Air Force they played hard, they played well, and they are real organized,” said Thorns.
TCU quickly built a five point lead but Air Force answered and was only down by one with 18 seconds left and the ball. A lay-up by Air Force’s Taylor Stewart was blocked but goal tending was called and the Falcons took a 66-65 lead. A missed lay-up by Hill as time expired secured the win for Air Force.
“We fought hard tonight. We wanted to win the game for Doctor Cash, we really did,” said Christian. “It was all about playing for him tonight. We played defensively the first fifteen minutes, probably the best we played all year. We will get better.”
TCU fell to 10-13 overall and 1-7 in conference while Air Force improves to 12-8, 3-4.