Fort Worth, Texas - Desmond Bane made 6 clutch free throws in the final 1:30 of the game, and Kenrich Williams recorded a double-double in his final game at home, as TCU knocked off Kansas State 66-59 on Senior Night.
With the win, TCU moves to 21-9 on the season and 9-8 in Big 12 play, guaranteeing they’ll have at least a .500 record in conference at season’s end. Ultimately, TCU sealed their NCAA Tournment berth with Tuesday night’s win.
Williams, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, was clutch for TCU throughout the night, as he seemed determined to keep TCU from losing in his last game at Schollmeier Arena.
Desmond Bane finished with 15 points and five rebounds for the Frogs, and Alex Robinson and Ahmed Hamdy both scored eight points, as TCU had to rely on defense to win this game.
TCU, the best offense in the Big 12, shot just 44.2% from the floor on the night, and just 35.7% from the floor in the second half. They also shot just 5-20 from the deep, including 2-13 in the second half. Bane and Kouat Noi, the two best three point shooters in the Big 12, at 49.1% and 46.6% respectively, combined to go just 1-10 from behind the arc.
The poor shooting night meant TCU had to step up defensively, and they did, forcing 19 Kansas State turnovers.
Meanwhile, Dean Wade and Barry Brown Jr. combined for 41 of Kansas State’s 59 points, as they shot 17-24 from the floor. The rest of the Wildcats let them down, shooting just 8-29 from the floor.
Desmond Bane and Kenrich Williams got the Frogs out to a fast start, as both scored five points in the first five minutes of the game. Banes second basket of the night came on a beautiful backdoor cut, assisted by Williams, giving TCU a 12-7 lead and forcing a Kansas State timeout with 14:52 left in the half.
The bench got in on the action quickly too, with Shawn Olden, JD Miller and Ahmed Hamdy all making impacts early. Olden hit his first three, Miller had a great offensive board and putback, and Hamdy pulled down four rebounds in his first five minutes, as TCU extended their lead to 20-13.
The Frogs then ran into a dry spell on offense, as they went without a field goal for 3:28 of game time. A layup from Bane would break the spell for the Frogs, but Kansas State worked their way back into it over that time, cutting TCU’s lead to 24-22.
Alex Robinson did his best to help spark the Frogs, scoring two baskets in a row to extend TCU’s lead back out to 30-24.
As Kansas State brought the ball back down court, Shawn Olden was called for a foul. It triggered two things, first - the under-4 timeout, and second - Jamie Dixon having words for the referree, and earning a technical foul. The Wildcats made one of the two ensuing free throws to pull within five, at 30-25.
Both offenses struggled down the stretch, but a basket from Alex Robinson pushed TCU ahead 33-29 at halftime. Ten first half turnovers kept TCU from pulling away at any point, but 54% shooting from the floor helped the Frogs maintain a lead for the entire half.
Kouat Noi opened the second half with a breakaway dunk for TCU, but Kansas State quickly rattled off a 9-0 run to take a 38-35 lead. Ahmed Hamdy and Kenny Hustle wouldn’t let TCU get behind by more, though.
A Hamdy dunk would pull TCU to within one, and then, with Dean Wade and Barry Brown Jr. both hitting threes for Kansas State, Hustle scored seven straight points for TCU. His solo run was followed by an Ahmed Hamdy reverse layup and-1 play, with the free throw good, giving TCU a 47-46 lead over the Wildcats.
Kansas State briefly reclaimed the lead, before a 5-0 run for the Frogs put them ahead 52-48.
The Wildcats rode Dean Wade all night, and that continued down the stretch as the junior scored for of KSU’s next six points to help the Wildcats back to a 54-53 lead.
Down 56-55 with just over two minutes remaining, Desmond Bane stole the ball and took it the length of the court for a layup, giving TCU a 57-56 lead. The basket broke a scoreless streak of over 2:25 for TCU, and a dearth of field goals that lasted more than 6 minutes of game time.
TCU forced a turnover on Kansas State’s next possession, and a Vlad three extended TCU’s lead to 60-56. Again, TCU forced a Kansas State turnover, and Bane was fouled in transition. His two free throws gave TCU a 62-56 lead with 1:30 remaining in the game.
More great defense and rebounding from TCU led to two more Desmond Bane free throws, pushing their lead to 64-56 with 43.1 seconds left. Kansas State’s Cartier Diarra then hit a big three to pull the Wildcats within five.
Desmond Bane made two more free throws with just under 20 seconds left, and TCU closed out with solid defense to get the win, 66-59.
TCU finishes the season at Texas Tech on Saturday, as the Frogs look to win their 10th conference game in a single season for the first time.
Check out all of TCU’s postgame comments below (I had twitchy thumb, and accidentally ended the recordings at one point, thus, multiple videos).