At some point, the Horned Frogs have to catch a break, right?
After losing Jaylen Fisher earlier this week, TCU got more bad news Saturday when Kouat Noi was deemed unavailable due to illness. Without Noi, TCU was thin once again, forcing Jamie Dixon’s hand when it came to redshirt freshman Russell Barlow - well, former redshirt freshman Russell Barlow, that is.
After Kevin Samuel picked up a quick foul, Dixon went to Barlow on the bench, burning the 6’10” freshman’s redshirt in the process. But, an eight man rotation down one of their best shooters against the conference’s hottest team was not enough, as TCU fell 65-55 to Kansas State Saturday afternoon on the road. The loss moves the Frogs to 2-3 in Big 12 play and 0-3 on the road, as they suffered their third straight close loss away from Schollmaier Arena. The Frogs, who had been leading the conference in scoring at just over 80 points per game, were held to just 55 by the Kansas State defense, one of the most efficient in the country.
Turnovers were the story of the first half, as Kansas State turned eight Frogs miscues into 13 points, as they took a seven point lead into the break. Some JD Miller heroics kept the halftime deficit in single digits; after Alex Robinson took a three with just a few ticks left, Miller was able to tip the ball out Kendric Davis, who drained a triple as time expired.
But there’s a reason the Cats had won three straight coming into today’s game - they have been on fire since Dean Wade’s return.
Wade was great again Saturday afternoon, as he continued his strong play against TCU. He finished with 16 points and six assists as he has begun to look more and more like the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year candidate he was billed as going into his senior season.
The Frogs struck first in the second half on an Alex Robinson layup, but the Wildcats answered with six straight - including a pair of alley-oop dunks. The Frogs never got closer than four in the final frame, trailing by as much as 12 points over the final 20 minutes and finishing on the wrong end of a ten point margin.
Desmond Bane led the Frogs in scoring with 17 points, but was just 6-14 from the field. Robinson finished with 16 points and four assists, but had eight turnovers in the game - a contest in which TCU had 18 total. JD Miller was the third Frog in double digits, scoring 11 and pulling down seven boards to lead the team. Barlow was 1-4 in his debut with four rebounds, but Samuel had just two points and Lat Mayen didn’t even attempt a shot.
TCU shot just 42% from the field and 25% from deep, but were 9-13 from the free throw line. The Wildcats weren’t much better at 45.8% and 20%, but made 18 of their 24 attempts from the charity stripe.
Next up for TCU is a home date with Texas Wednesday, as they look to get back to .500 in conference play.