Nothing went right for TCU, who may have been playing with too much emotion on the biggest stage.
TCU senior Vladimir Brodziansky, playing in his last game along with Williams and Ahmed Hamdy, scored 13 points, including 11 in the second half. Hamdy came off the bench to grab six rebounds.
Except for Kouat Noi, who was 2 of 3 from the arc, TCU’s shooters struggled to hit shots. Desmond Bane, Alex Robinson and Kenrich Williams combined to make 1 of 13 3-point attempts. TCU’s 17.6 percent from the arc is the lowest of the season. The Frogs have shot 25 percent or below in three their final four games of the season.
Williams and Vlad went out winners, despite the game’s result.
”We kind of made history this year getting in the tournament for the first time in 20 years,” guard Kenrich Williams said. ”I mean, I learned a lot on and off the court, learned a lot from my teammates, from the coaches.”
There was little doubt who won the much-anticipated matchup between TCU’s excellent offense and Syracuse’s zone. The Horned Frogs were held 31 points below their season average.
”They didn’t get any easy shots the whole game, and I thought that was the difference,” Orange coach Jim Boeheim said. ”We did a good job on the boards and didn’t turn the ball over. It was a really good win.”
It’s hard to know what to expect from a team that was all toddlers the last time their program played in March Madness.
“As I told them (in the locker room), this must be part of the process to play in the NCAA Tournament and not playing to your level,’’ Dixon said. “Simply put, we didn’t play to our level. That hopefully prepares us going forward for next year.
“I know we worked hard, but we were almost too excited and had too much emotion in the warmups and all day long. Maybe that caught up with us.’’
The season ended for TCU (21-12) on a three-game losing streak, its second three-game losing skid of the season. The Horned Frogs lost at Texas Tech in the regular season finale 79-75, lost in the first game of the Big 12 Tournament to Kansas State in overtime 66-64 and fell to Syracuse on Friday.
It seems every time TCU lost a game this season, there was some guy who was generally a role player lighting them up. That was the case Friday night as well.
Shooters from both sides remained pretty cold in the early going. Everyone accept TCU’s Kouat Noi and Syracuse’s Marek Dolezaj. Dolezaj is not the Orange’s typical heavy hitter, but had the hot hand in the first half and was really the only reason Syracuse stayed ahead of the Frogs in that frame. He finished with a game-high 17 points.
Noi was feeling it from the right corner, accounting for half of TCU’s total points through the 10-minute mark in the first. He was the only Frog with an open look at the rim, getting fed bounce passes off of drives inside.
TCU Baseball hasn’t figured it out quite yet. Not a terrible loss, but definitely a game you expect to win.
The TCU pitching staff registered double-digit strikeouts for the seventh time this season. Jared Janczak started and got the no-decision after allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits. Janczak walked two and struck out four.
The Horned Frogs will try to even the score against Minnesota in the middle game of the series at 5 p.m. Saturday.