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TCU 90, Oklahoma State 70: Frogs sweep Cowboys, boost tourney hopes

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TCU moves to 18-9 on the season, and 6-8 in Big 12 play, thanks to a balanced offense.

Melissa Triebwasser

Fort Worth, Texas - Six Frogs scored in double-digits as TCU got a big, comfortable win over Oklahoma State on Saturday night, 90-70. It was the ninth time TCU broke the 90-point barrier this season, but just the first time since a 96-73 win over Iowa State on January 17th. Jamie Dixon loved the effort on all fronts.

“It was fun to watch, fun to see them compete. I really believe in this team and how good we are - it was a great win, great to see Hamdy coming back, Shawn was great, JD was great coming off the bench. Exciting game, great fans, can’t thank them enough for coming out.”

Kouat Noi led the way for TCU with 19 points and six rebounds. Kenrich Williams was next, with 16 points and six rebounds, while the bigs, Vladimir Brodziansky and Ahmed Hamdy scored 14 and 12 points, respectively. Dixon is ecstatic over the offensive numbers, but the defense continues to hold the team back.

“We didn’t make any shots early, and we are so programed, all of our eight our offensive minded. When shots don’t go, defense sometimes suffered, and that’s part of our challenge going forward. Hopefully this is the turning point going forward, but I keep waiting for that moment, that time, where we get the idea that if we can get our defense we will be pretty good, pretty hard to beat.”

Alex Robinson and Desmond Bane rounded out the double-digit scoring with 11 and 10 points respectively. Robinson also recorded nine assists and four rebounds, before fouling out with less than a minute to go in the contest.

The Frogs shot 54.4% from the floor on the night, and 50% from three-point range, including 7-of-8 from deep in the second half to help put the game away.

The Cowboys were led by Kendall Smith, who scored a game-high 21 points, but foul trouble hindered the Pokes all night as they struggled to keep up with the Frogs late.

TCU moves to 18-9 on the season, and 6-8 in Big 12 play, keeping themselves firmly in the NCAA Tournament picture. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State falls to 15-12, and likely closing the window on their tournament hopes, barring a big run to end the season.

Oklahoma State got out to a quick start thanks to Mitchell Solomon, who scored the first seven points of the game, while TCU went scoreless over the opening 4:01, as Oklahoma State opened up a 9-0 lead out of the gate. The Frogs missed their first nine shots of the contest.

Oklahoma State continued to pour it on, while TCU’s defense looked lost, as a three from Kendall Smith extended the Cowboys’ lead to 14-2 in the first five minutes of the game.

TCU’s offense would start to stabilize and get going with about 13 minutes remaining in the half, but TCU’s defense continued to give up easy baskets to the Cowboys. A Kouat Noi three pointer was answered by OSU’s Cameron McGriff, as the Cowboys maintained a 21-11 lead into the under-12 timeout in the half.

The Frogs battled back over the next four-plus minutes of game time, cutting into Oklahoma State’s lead with a 10-5 run, bringing the score to 26-21 Oklahoma State with 7:15 left in the half.

TCU continued to push, with Miller and Vlad both scoring baskets, and two Desmond Bane free throws cut TCU’s deficit to 28-27 with 5:35 left in the half. Bane’s free throws came on Mitchell’s third foul of the game, forcing the proficient scorer to the bench for the Cowboys. Two more free throws, this time from Brodziansky, would give TCU a 29-28 lead.

Ahmed Hamdy would help the Frogs maintain a lead down the stretch to halftime, as he scored eight points, and made four consecutive free throws (after missing his first five), to help TCU gain a 39-36 advantage at the break.

“I just brought a lot of energy today. I always try and push the team and play hard, bring energy to the team, and leave it out there,” he said after the win.

Notably, TCU’s defense stepped up over the back half of the first period. OSU scored 16 points in the first 5:28 of the half, but they scored just 20 points over the remaining 14:32. Meanwhile, Noi and Hamdy combined for 19 points and 10 rebounds to carry the Frogs into a halftime advantage.

“We had three good days of practice coming into the game, so we came out ready and just competing and playing defense,” Noi said.

The Frogs continued to apply pressure offensively to open the second half. Quick threes from Williams and Bane, followed by a Bane layup, helped TCU pull out to a 47-39 lead in the first 3:20 minutes of the half.

“Towards the end, it was kind of getting tough for us - we had a few players that had three and four fouls so we switched to zone. But we stayed with the defensive game plan and worked it out,” Williams said.

Oklahoma State’s foul trouble increased dramatically in the first six minutes of the second half, as four Cowboys found themselves with three or more fouls with over 14 minutes to go in the game.

Meanwhile, TCU’s three point shooting continued to hit a rhythm, as Alex Robinson and Kenrich Williams hit back to back threes, giving TCU a 57-47 lead with 12:43 remaining in the half.

The Cowboys wouldn’t go quietly though, as Kendall Smith’s third three of the game cut TCU’s lead to 57-50. Just seconds later, Yankuba Sima would draw his fourth foul, joining McGriff, leading to a media timeout with 11:33 remaining in the game.

The Frogs maintained an 8-10 point lead over the next three minutes of game play, and took a 65-57 lead down under the 8-minute mark of the second half. Foul trouble started coming into play for the Frogs though, as Desmond Bane and Shawn Olden both picked up their fourth fouls, while Brodzinasky and Robinson dealt with three each.

Foul trouble was still a bigger issue for OSU though, and Lucas N’Guessan fouled out with just over seven minutes left in the game, as Vlad made a basket over him, then made the free throw, giving TCU a 70-57 lead.

It would be the start of a 15-4 run for the Frogs, as Robinson, Hamdy, Noi and Williams would lead the Frogs out to a 82-61 lead, their largest of the night.

TCU would cruise over the final three minutes of game play, closing out their 18th win of the season, and finishing the season sweep of Oklahoma State.

Next up for TCU, they head to Ames to face off against a last-place Iowa State team that has lost four of their last five, including a 78-66 loss to Kansas State on Saturday.