Free throw shooting almost cost the Frogs the game on Friday night, but TCU would hold on to beat New Mexico 69 (nice)-67, and move to 5-0 on the season. TCU will now face the winner of St. Bonaventure-Maryland Saturday at 6pm Central Time.
TCU got off to a slow start in the first half, falling behind to New Mexico 7-2. Full court pressure from the Lobos caused problems for the Frogs, and the offensive stress led to some sloppy defensive possessions as well. The Frogs would battle through the first six minutes of the game before they found a rhythm, and they wouldn’t lead until a Jaylen Fisher layup put TCU up 24-23 with 6:35 remaining in the first half.
Fisher, along with Kenrich Williams, was a big reason TCU was able to stay close while the offense was struggling, and both Fisher and Williams reaped the benefits once the floodgates opened. The two guys would lead TCU into halftime with a 40-33 lead.
Kenny Hustle recorded his second double-double of the season for TCU, with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. Jaylen scored 8 points and handed out four assists in the first half as well.
TCU wouldn’t trail in the second half, but they could never quite put New Mexico away. The Frogs led by as many as 12 points, but New Mexico continued to pressure the ball and force turnovers, turning those into points on the other end.
A layup for the Lobos cut TCU’s lead to 68-64 with 1:57 remaining in the contest, and then the fouling would begin. Vladimir Brodziansky would go 1-2, and JD Miller and Desmond Bane would both miss two. A New Mexico 3 pointer after Miller’s misses cut the lead to 69-67, and Bane’s misses gave the Lobos the ball back with 8 seconds left. A New Mexico timeout with 1.9 seconds left gave them a chance to draw up a final play.
Fortunately, New Mexico would airball the potential game-winning three, and the Frogs would hold on to win. Kenny Hustle finished the game with 23 points and 17 rebounds, while Desmond Bane (11) and Jaylen Fisher (10) both finished in double-digits for the Frogs as well.
The Lobos were led by Sam Longwood, who scored a game-high 27 points. Chris McNeal and Antino Jackson both scored 12 for the Lobos as well.