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Frogs Can't Bring the Heat; Fall in Norman

After a hot start, TCU ran out of gas down the stretch, and the Sooners came back from a ten point deficit to get their 20th win of the season.

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

After their well documented travel issues, the Frogs rolled in to Norman a scant 12 hours before tip-off to take on the #16 Sooners and their star, Buddy Hield. Despite the late night and quick turnaround, TCU looked like anything but a tired team at tip, as they rolled to a 36 point half and eight point lead, led by the hot shooting of senior point guard Kyan Anderson and the strong team defense display by the Frogs. TCU had a ten point lead with just minutes to go, but faded down the stretch of the first half, struggling in their final five possessions and coming up empty, as OU made a nice play with just seconds to go to draw a foul, using the two free throws to change the momentum and head in to the break with a manageable deficit.

OU rolled out 12-6 run to start the second half, cutting the deficit to two points at the under 16 minute mark. It looked like the Frogs were about to fold, but Chris Washburn made a jumper out of the time out, Fields followed with a free throw, and the Frogs pushed the lead back to five as the clock continues to run. Chris Washburn, who had been dominant inside early, drew a lot of attention in the second half, and as such, TCU went away from trying to punish OU inside and settled for long jumpers. Kyan Anderson, who had gotten to the paint with intent early, also seemed to settle for hanging out around the arc in the second half, not looking for the penetration he had been getting early and thus, creating less opportunities for easy shots inside late.

The game turned with 11 minutes to play - the Frogs had held on to a lead despite the Sooner's best efforts, but a poor stretch of turnovers and fouls, coupled with five consecutive points by OU's star guard Buddy Hield, led to a tie game at 45 and a major momentum shift. Hield would score seven straight points for the Sooners, and you just can't allow a guy like that to get hot. That, and an ensuing TaShawn Thomas slam, got the crowd fired up, and the momentum swing would be too much for a tired Frogs team to overcome. The Frogs hung tough, but after starting the game struggling from the free throw line, the Sooners made them when it counted, and pulled away in the last minute and a half for the 67-60 victory.

Kyan Anderson and Trey Ziegler finished with 16 points a piece, and Chris Washburn added ten to go with six rebounds. Karviar Shepherd, who had been playing great ball, was good on defense but basically a non factor on offense and the glass, with only two points and three rebounds in 20 minutes. America Fields came off the bench firing, but only had five points on ten shots, and took some questionable shots from deep down the stretch.

For the Sooners, who had four guys in double figures, it was once again the Buddy Hield show, as the guard broke out of his shooting slump to the tune of 21 points and 13 rebounds in 32 minutes. Thomas had 15, Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins added 10 apiece, and their fifth starter, Jordan Woodard wasn't far behind with eight.

The loss drops TCU to 17-12 over and 4-12 in the Big 12, with two games remaining before the tourney. The Frog's NIT hopes will come down to games at Oklahoma State and verses Iowa State at home, plus at least one conference tourney matchup. TCU would need at least one, likely two wins to have a shot at making the cut. For OU, who moves to 20-8 and 11-5, they face a tough final two games - traveling to Ames and welcoming in Kansas, who they currently only trail by half a game in the standings, to close the season, in what could decided the #1 seed in the tourney.

All things considered, another great battle by TCU, but once again, they fall just short. This team has built incredible momentum for the program these past five games, but haven't been able to quite get over the hump against the top of the league. But hey, they shot 62.5% from the free throw line, so there's that!