Of the 100 teams that are chosen for the NCAA Tournament and NIT, only two get to finish their season with a win. The TCU Horned Frogs are one of those two teams as they knocked off Georgia Tech 88-56 in the Championship game of the NIT to bring home the title.
It was all Frogs to start the game as TCU raced out to a 14-1 lead by the first media timeout thanks to some lockdown defense and easy fast breaks. The Frogs kept up the hot start for a few minutes, but Georgia Tech used a 7-0 run to get back within 9 points by the under-8 timeout. The Yellow Jackets would continue to cut into the deficit, but some key plays from Kenrich Williams helped TCU to a 38-27 halftime lead.
In the 1st half, the Frogs showed a balanced attack as 8 different players scored and the team assisted on 9 of their 14 made field goals. TCU shot 45.2%, but struggled from three point range, where they were 0/6. The Frogs outrebounded Georgia Tech 22-18 and held the Yellow Jackets to 32.1% shooting.
The game’s leading scorer at the half was Tadric Jackson of Georgia Tech, who had 12 points on 5/7 shooting off the bench. Josh Okogie and Ben Lammers were the only Yellow Jackets’ starters to score, combining for 13 points on 3/14 shooting from the field.
For TCU, Vladimir Brodziansky led the team with 10 points and JD Miller added in another 9 points to go with 5 boards. Kenrich dropped in 8 points in the half, including going 6/7 at the free throw line, and pulled down 7 boards. Point guard Alex Robinson had 4 assists and 4 steals in the first 20 minutes, but also turned the ball over 4 times.
Both teams came out strong in the 2nd half, but TCU really started to pull away by turning the game into a slam dunk contest, which helped the Frogs to a 54-39 lead at the first media timeout. Georgia Tech continued to battle and went on a couple small runs, but the Frogs were too much to handle and took a 65-49 lead into the under-12 timeout. After that, it was pretty much all TCU as they wrapped up the NIT title by winning 88-56.
As a team, the Frogs absolutely dominated Georgia Tech, holding them scoreless from the 12:10 mark in the 2nd half to the 2:06 mark. Despite struggling from deep, they still shot 50.7% from the field and went 13/16 from the free throw line. TCU absolutely dominated on the glass, outrebounding Georgia Tech 44-30.
The star of the game was once again none other than Kenrich “Kenny Hustle” Williams, who put together what may have been his best game ever. He had yet another double-double, including a career-high 25 points to go with 12 rebounds. He also had 4 steals and didn’t turn the ball over at all. Vlad added in another 18 points on 8/15 shooting and Alex Robinson ended up with a double-double as well, dropping in 10 points to go with 11 assists.
For the Yellow Jackets, it was a tough night offensively. Georgia Tech only shot 35.7% from the field and turned it over 17 times. Big man Ben Lammers had an especially tough night, only scoring 8 points on 1/11 shooting. Tadric Jackson did his best off the bench for the Jackets, finishing with 19 points, but he also turned the ball over 6 times. Georgia Tech’s top scorer, Josh Okogie, also struggled and was held to 12 points on 4/12 shooting.
Jamie Dixon’s first season at the helm for TCU has been absolutely spectacular and the Horned Frogs finish the year with an overall record of 24-15. The NIT title is a sign of great things to come for the program and will help continue the momentum that the coaches have created on the recruiting trail. On the court, TCU should return their top 6 scorers next season and should be a contender in the Big 12.
It was a great way to go out for the four seniors who have been through so much during their time in Fort Worth: 0-18 conference record as freshmen, 2 years in temporary locker rooms, a year and at half at Wilkerson-Greines, and a coaching change. In an era when transfers have become common, these four have demonstrated great loyalty to TCU and their legacy will live on as being the guys who helped set the culture and foundation of a new era for Horned Frog basketball.