The Horned Frogs tried to find some type of March magic to extend their season Tuesday against Colorado State in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference tournament, but this Cinderella wasn’t meant to be, as TCU fell to the Rams 64-60. Despite a career-best, 28-point performance from senior guard Nile Murry, the Horned Frogs (6-25) couldn’t find a way to overcome a pesky CSU squad (16-14) that featured four players in double figures. Senior forward Judson Stubbs added toughness by scoring 12 points and pulling down 6 rebounds before fouling out.
Head coach Neil Dougherty said Murry’s performance, while spectacular, was not surprising.
“I think Nile showed once again, with everyone in the whole building knowing where the ball was going to go a lot of times, he was able to make some plays for us,” Dougherty said in a media relations press release. “He made some big shots.”
It was CSU’s leading scorer, center Jason Smith, who provided the knockout punch of the game. Despite only scoring 11 points (below his average of 16.5 points per game), all of them came in the last 10 minutes of the game. The basket must have grown for the Rams late in the game, as evident by their 59 percent second-half shooting percentage. Their ability to get to the free throw line more frequently in the second half (18 attempts compared to TCU’s 7) also played a pivotal role in the outcome.
The Mountain West Conference tournament continues today with eight remaining teams. The possible game of the day sees two evenly matched squads square off as No. 3 BYU faces No. 6 Utah on ESPN at 11 p.m.
Dougherty will have to begin next season without some key components such as Murry, All-Mountain West Conference honoree, Stubbs, senior forward Chudi Chinweze and senior guard David Markley.
Dougherty said there is more of an effect from losing the seniors than just the ones on the court.
“I’m just really kind of going to miss four kids that played very hard all year with little success in terms of wins and losses,” Dougherty said. “It was a joy coaching them.”
Quotes provided by gofrogs.com.