TCU’s bid at making a little Madness fell short in OT.
“I don’t know that we finished as good we (could) have,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “We had a good lead and just didn’t get it done down the stretch. I’m disappointed to have that lead and let it get away from us, but we know why we did it, and we’re going to learn from it and get better for it.”
Kansas State guard Barry Brown made a layup with 11 seconds remaining that proved to be the game-winner. In a semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday, Kansas State will face Kansas.
TCU simply waits. In about 72 hours, TCU players and coaches will gather around televisions with a sense of optimism they haven’t felt on Selection Sunday in two decades.
These two teams were so evenly matched.
Kenrich Williams led the Horned Frogs (21-11) with 20 points. Robinson contributed 16 points on 6-for-15 shooting, and he finished with seven turnovers — none more costly than the last.
The teams couldn’t have played a more even first half, swapping the lead seven times with seven ties and ending 30-all at the break. Both were 2 of 8 from beyond the arc, the Wildcats shot 48 percent from the field and the Horned Frogs shot 52, and neither team made a free throw.
Hardly a surprise, given the teams split in the regular-season with each winning at home.
Could yesterday’s loss be a good thing?
“So you prepare, you get ready, and we’ve played guys a lot of minutes,” Dixon said. “So in some ways that can be productive, and we’ll try to get better. We will watch some film because we had a 9-point lead and we let the thing get away and we’ve done that a few times, especially on the road.”
TCU was 7 of 14 from the free throw line, including two misses (one intentional) by Alex Robinson with a second remaining with a chance to send the game to a second overtime. For such a good-shooting team, 50 percent from the free throw line has haunted the Frogs on multiple occasions.
”We can’t get beat at the free throw line. When we’ve lost we’ve got beat at the free throw line,” Dixon said. “It’s that simple. We’ve got to get to the foul line, we’ve got to make more free throws. So we’ve got to get more free throws than our opponent. That’s a big goal for us.”
#FreeDLandestoy? The fan favorite has made the most of his opportunity this year.
“Or other times when he’s gotten to play, even though he played well, when the starter came back he sat on the bench,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s being rewarded for being a great teammate for five years.”
No. 7 TCU opens a three-game set at the Dodgers Stadium College Baseball Classic against USC at 8 p.m. Friday. They also play No. 11 UCLA and Vanderbilt on Saturday and Sunday.
The oblique strain to center fielder Johnny Rizer in the second game of the season has opened a spot for Landestoy, who has started six games as the designated hitter after starting the season with four starts at first base. Rizer could be out up to two more weeks.
”There’s no such thing as pressure for me,” Landestoy said. “I know the work is done off the field, in the summer. It’s just up to me having fun and helping my team win. That’s all the matters to me.”
There will be plenty of competition.
Wilson, a junior to be from Fossil Ridge High School, is out with an injury. Patterson said if he’s unavailable it will leave the Frogs a little thin at the position. Alec Dunham and safety-turned-linebacker Garret Wallow has helped restock the linebacker corps. In fact, Howard was moved to linebacker from safety in 2015 when injuries struck the position. That turned out to be a pretty good move.
”That’s really already helped us. I think he’s got an opportunity to be a really good player because he’s smart and he;s tough and he does things,” Patterson said of Wallow, who will be a sophomore in the fall.
TCU has more than 10 players unavailable for full contact practice because of injuries. That’s one of the reasons Patterson decided to delay most of the spring schedule until after TCU’s spring break, which is next week.
”We grow up the guys who are out here. And then when you get everybody back, then if they can play, you become a better football team,” he said. “Just like last year. All of sudden you had a lot of depth and you won 11 ball games.”