A disappointing season for the TCU Horned Frogs mercifully came to an end tonight with an 86-66 loss to #9 West Virginia in the Quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. The loss dropped the Frogs to 12-21 overall, the program's ninth losing record in the last 11 seasons.
For the second straight night, Chauncey Collins led all scorers. This time, he finished with 18 points, thanks to nine made free throws. Malique Trent added 15 points on just 5/12 shooting from the field. Vladimir Brodziansky was the last Frog in double-figures, as he came off the bench to score 11 points. As a team, TCU connected on just 19 of their 54 shot attempts, a chilly 35.2%. The team was 5/19 from behind the arc and a respectable 23/29 from the line.
Across the court, West Virginia had four players enter double-figures. Devin Williams matched Collins' 18 points while also pulling down nine rebounds. Jevon Carter scored 15 while Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillip came off the bench to combine for 25. The Mountaineers finished the game shooting a red-hot 55.6% from the field, hitting 30 of their 54 attempts. After entering the game making 32% of their threes, WVU shot 11/24 from deep, an unusually-high 45.8%.
West Virginia opened the game with a three-point play just 18 seconds after tipoff. Fueled by a flurry of early TCU turnovers, the Mountaineers jumped out to a 12-4 lead. With Karviar Shepherd on the bench after picking up two quick fouls, WVU started the game 4/4 from behind the arc.
TCU took West Virginia's best punch, then fought back. A mini-run cut the WVU lead to just 27-22 midway through the opening frame. The Frogs managed to keep things respectable, as much of the first half was played within a 10-point window. The Mountaineers carried a 47-36 lead into the break.
The Frogs continued to hang around in the opening minutes of the second half, reducing West Virginia's lead to 56-47 before a string of three straight empty possessions that would have cut into the deficit even further. Several minutes later, a Malique Trent three pointer shaved the deficit to 63-55, but WVU would answer with a pair of threes to reestablish a 14-point advantage.
An already thin TCU rotation began to show fatigue in the final minutes as West Virginia opened their largest lead of the game at 79-61 with under 4:00 to go. The final minutes saw WVU pull away even further, claiming the 20-point win to move into tomorrow's Semifinals.
The Frogs will head back to Fort Worth tonight, facing an uncertain future. Head coach Trent Johnson has two years remaining on his contract, however his 50-79 record, including an 8-64 mark against Big 12 opponents, likely doesn't sit well with TCU fans, administrators, or boosters. After taking a step backwards in terms of development, there could be some changes in Cowtown in the not-too-distant future.