TCU’s men’s basketball program advanced to the NIT semifinals for the first time in school history on Tuesday night, as the Frogs thumped Richmond 86-68 in front of a wild crowd at the Scholly.
Kenny Hustle also made it into TCU’s record books, recording the second triple-double in TCU history with 11 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. Kurt Thomas was the only Frog to record one prior, with 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 blocks against Texas A&M in 1995. Hustle was an absolute force tonight as the Frogs completely dominated Richmond from start to finish.
It was an easy win for the Frogs, who now head to Madison Square Garden in New York City for the NIT semifinals.
The Frogs jumped on Richmond early, climbing out to a 21-9 lead in the first 9:33 of the game, led by dominant performances from Vlad Brodziansky and Kenrich Williams. The Frogs used their huge height advantage to help them outrebound Richmond 24-9 in the first half, led by Williams’ 10 rebounds. Williams added nine first-half points, putting him well in reach of his 17th double-double of the season.
Vlad had his way with Richmond in the paint, dropping 16 points in the first half. He was 5-8 from the floor, and his efforts put Richmond in foul trouble rather quickly.
Desmond Bane, making his second start in place of the injured Jaylen Fisher, scored five first-half points to go with three rebounds and two assists. Meanwhile, Alex Robinson, one of the heroes against Iowa, had a relatively quiet half (four points, three rebounds, three assists), as he watched Vlad and Hustle dominate the Spiders.
TJ Cline, son of basketball legend Nancy Lieberman, scored 10 points in the first half for Richmond, but the Frogs maintained a 41-26 lead at the break.
The Spiders opened the second half on a 6-0 run, to cut TCU’s lead back to single-digits, but TCU responded with an 8-0 run of their own, capped by threes from Bane and JD Miller, to give the Frogs a 49-32 advantage.
The beatdown continued after a single free throw was made by Richmond, as buckets from Robinson and Parrish pushed TCU’s lead to 21, 54-33.
The Frogs maintained a 15-to-22-point lead throughout the majority of the second half, with Mike Williams pushing the lead to 71-50 with five consecutive points. The senior has seen his playing time decrease dramatically over the past several seasons, but he has been the consummate team-player.
Vlad would finish the night with 20 points and seven rebounds, Desmond Bane would drop 13 points, and Alex Robinson finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
The Frogs shot 51.6% from the floor on the night, 34.8% from deep, and 92.3% from the charity stripe, while outrebounding Richmond 39-22.
This was, of course, the final home game for seniors Karviar Shepherd, Chris Washburn, Brandon Parrish, and Mike Williams. They combined for 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in their make-up senior night. There’s no amount of words that can describe what these four guys have done for this program. They stuck with it when almost no one else would have, and they willingly took a backseat in their upperclassmen years. These four guys absolutely need to be recognized for who they are: great people, and team players.
TJ Cline finished with 33 points for Richmond, but got absolutely no help from his teammates all night long.
The Frogs are the first team to reach the NIT semifinals this year. They’ll be joined by the winners of Georgia Tech-Ole Miss, UT Arlington-Cal State Bakersfield, and Illinois-Central Florida.