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Kansas State 73, TCU 68: Frogs lose another close Big 12 matchup

TCU falls to 2-5 in Big 12 play, with their five losses coming by a combined 16 points.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Manhattan, Kansas - TCU is one of the most prolific three-point shooting teams in the Big 12, but on Saturday it may have been their downfall. The Frogs shot just 30.8% from deep as a team, and missed several threes late in lieu of shots closer to the basket. Alex Robinson, who played all 40 minutes for the second-consecutive game, scored 13 points, with six assists and five rebounds, in place of Jaylen Fisher in the starting lineup.

Robinson was joined by Vladimir Broadziansky (15 points) and Kenrich Williams (11 points), but no other Horned Frog broke double-digits. Williams recorded his 30th career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

TCU’s poor offensive performance, coupled with bad defense for large portions of the contest, were ultimately TCU’s downfall in yet another close loss.

The Frogs shot just 42.9% from the floor on the day, while allowing Kansas State to shoot 52.9% from the floor, and 42.1% from three-point range. Lackluster defensive rotation, coupled with poor post defense, led to a multitude of open shots close to the basket for Kansas State throughout the game.

With the loss, TCU falls to 2-5 in Big 12 play, and will likely fall out of the Top 25 when the new rankings come out on Monday.

TCU got out to a slow start, to say the least, as Kansas State jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game. Defensively the Wildcats gave the Frogs a lot of problems, especially down low, while TCU’s defensive effort seemed out of sorts to start.

The Frogs would push back though, after being down 17-7, going 5-7 from the floor after opening up 0-6. Kouat Noi would come off the bench to score seven quick points for the Frogs, helping TCU cut into their deficit by the under-12 timeout.

Defensively, though, TCU’s effort was virtually non-existent. They were slow to rotate to open shooters, both down low and on the perimeter, as Kansas State shot close to 70% from the floor over the first 8+ minutes of the contest.

Their defensive effort wouldn’t get better, as TCU gave up an open three pointer out of the under-12 break, immediately after which Jamie Dixon got hit with a technical foul, seemingly simply for existing. Kansas State would make the free throws, and TCU found themselves down 27-15.

Fortunately, the threes would start to fall for the Frogs, as JD Miller and Vladimir Brodziansky would help TCU surge back into the contest. The three-ball, plus some much-needed energy on defense, would help TCU cut Kansas State’s lead to 31-28 with about four and a half minutes remaining in the half. Miller’s second three would be the last field goal TCU would score in the first half, though.

Kansas State would hold on to their lead in the following minutes, going back up by ten, 38-28, as the clock ticked under two minutes remaining in the first half. Two free throws by Alex Robinson would get TCU to the 30-point mark, but the Frogs found themselves down 38-30 at the half.

It really was fortunate that TCU wasn’t down more at halftime, seeing how this was arguably their worst first-half performance of the season thus far.

The second half would begin much better for TCU, but the Frogs couldn’t climb any closer than within five points of Kansas State over the first six and a half minutes. The Frogs would finally get closer with a Vlad jumper, pulling to within 47-43, but TCU’s lackluster defense wouldn’t allow them to get any closer, as they gave up three easy baskets, cut by two Shawn Olden free throws and an Olden three, as Kansas State held on to a 53-48 lead with just under nine minutes to play.

TCU would continue to cave defensively against the aggression of Kansas State, as the Wildcats pulled to 56-48 on a three-point play form Cartier Diarra. A Kenrich Williams three-point play would pull TCU back to within five with just over 7:50 left in the game.

A Williams offensive board on a missed Olden three would lead to a Noi basket, as TCU briefly got to within three of Kansas State at 56-53. Another lapse on defense though would lead to a wide open Wildcat three, pulling Kansas State back ahead by six.

With 5:23 left in the game, after being frustrated for most of the game, Jamie Dixon was hit with his second technical foul, leading to his ejection from the contest. KSU would make one of the two ensuing free throws to pull ahead 60-53.

As soon as Dixon left the court, TCU started to play inspired basketball. A three from Vald, followed by a great cut from Bane, and a second chance basket from Alex Robinson would cut Kansas State’s lead to 62-60, but only for a brief moment.

On the other end of the court Vlad would get shoved down with no call, leading to a wide open dunk for the Wildcats.

Kansas State would pull ahead thanks to solid ball movement and good penetration, and carry a 70-63 lead inside of two minutes remaining in the game, before a Desmond Bane three would pull TCU back to within four.

The scoring would hold at 70-66 Kansas State until under 10 seconds remaining. With Kansas State inbounding the ball, JD Miller managed to get a steal and a dunk to cut the deficit to two with 3.6 seconds remaining.

Kansas State would make their free throws down the stretch, and TCU would miss one final three, as the Wildcats came away with the 73-68 win.

TCU has a quick turnaround, as they host No. 6 West Virginia on Monday night. They’ll have to play much, much better than they did against Kansas State to have a chance in that game.