Once again, it was Kenny Hustle out there doing the little things to spur a big TCU run.
“I thought Kenrich was terrific. In the second half, he just kind of took over in all sorts of different ways,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “Passing, finishing, offensive rebounding. That was pretty big. We just let him go and do his thing.”
TCU (23-15) benefited by picking up its sixth victory in its last seven games and fourth in a row during the NIT. Williams, who missed the first two games of the season while regaining full strength from last year’s knee surgery, has collected his 18 double-doubles in the team’s last 36 games: a 50 percent conversion rate for the season.
This team genuinely seems to love being together, and the coaches want to soak in these final days with the seniors.
Texas Christian will meet Georgia Tech in the championship game Thursday night.
"We love these guys," Dixon said. "We just want two more days with them. ... We'll look forward to getting ready for Georgia Tech."
Williams also grabbed 14 rebounds and had seven assists.
The Knights came out hot, but after surviving their first barrage, the Frogs settle in and played the kind of lock down D that has carried them in big stretches this post season. And, they did a number on Tacko Fall, who had his moments, but didn’t impact the game the way UCF had hoped he would.
“If he made — I think he made one little jump hook on us. We can live with that,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said of stopping Fall. “But no put-backs, which I thought we did a pretty good job. I think maybe he got one in the first half. So that’s how I thought we hurt him.”
Outside of limiting Fall, Dixon keyed in on taking away UCF’s 3-point shot.
Facing some harassing perimeter defense, the Knights managed just one 3-pointer in the second half. Williams, who led the Knights with 15 points, had just one open look beyond the arc. He went 3-of-11 from 3-point range.
These two teams have a lot of similarities, and should make for a fascinating matchup Thursday night.
In his first season, Dixon has lavished praise on his seniors for their buy-in to his philosophy in their final season with the team. Tuesday, he referred to them as the “Four Believers.” (Pastner has given credit to seniors such as Josh Heath and Quinton Stephens for helping develop a culture of character and effort, although he has yet to come up with any clever names for them.)
Basketball wasn’t the only TCU team to come away with a win Tuesday night; the diamond Frogs played a complete game in dominating UTRGV behind Jake Eissler’s start, Sean Wymer’s finish, and Ryan Merrill’s bat.
“We need to have some competition for that fourth spot,” Schlossnagle said. “Ideally, it’s Traver. But with his past, we can’t count on that. We’re going to work towards that, but we need to develop somebody else besides Dalton. To win the conference tournament, you need four starting pitchers at minimum.”