Four minutes into the game TCU needed a spark. Kendric Davis answered the call, and when it was all said and done, the true freshman poured in 22 points as TCU upset No. 17 Iowa State 92-83.
The win was TCU’s first conference road victory this season, and pulled them to 5-5 in conference play.
Davis’ 22 points were a career-high for the point guard, who has been leaned on in a larger role since Jaylen Fisher’s injuries, and then departure from the team, left a big need for a second floor general. Beyond just scoring though, Davis added four assists, three rebounds, and just one turnover in 29 minutes.
Three other Frogs supplemented Davis’ big day with 17 points each. Kouat Noi, Alex Robinson, and Desmond Bane all shot well on the day, as TCU exploded for their most points since their 98-67 drubbing of West Virginia on January 15th. They spread out their scoring, too. Noi scored 15 first half points, while Robinson and Bane combined for 32 second-half points as TCU led for the final 30:28 of the game.
Robinson added five assists, while Noi and Bane pulled down seven and six rebounds respectively. While these four stole the show, we’d be insane not to mention Kevin Samuel’s day.
The redshirt freshman scored six points, pulled down seven rebounds, and blocked five shots as he absolutely shut down Iowa State around the rim. Samuel’s presence is part of the reason the Cyclones scored just 34 points in the paint and had one of their poorer shooting performances of the season for most of the game.
JD Miller, Wednesday’s hero in the win over Oklahoma State, was scoreless for the first 37 minutes of the game, but he scored six points in the final three minutes to help TCU hold off the Cyclones late.
It didn’t look like it would be a good day for the Frogs, though, if you wanted the first few minutes. TCU struggled out of the gate on Saturday afternoon, starting just 1-8 from the floor with two turnovers as Iowa State jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first 4:10 of the contest. In the midst of TCU’s early struggles Jamie Dixon was hit with a technical foul for seemingly just existing.
A few more quick baskets for Iowa State, including six points from Michael Jacobson, helped Iowa State out to a 13-4 lead, forcing a TCU timeout.
Kendric Davis entered at that timeout (at the 14:11 mark of the first half), and he immediately sparked TCU’s offense. He poured in eight points, played great defense, and took pressure off of Alex Robinson. The result was an 18-2 run for the Frogs over the next 6+ minutes of game time, and they took a 22-15 lead into the under-8 timeout.
The Frogs continued to pour it on in the final portion of the first half. Davis hit a layup high off the backboard, and Noi drilled a three, as TCU extended their lead to 31-17 and forced Iowa State to call a timeout with 5:36 remaining in the half.
Iowa State fought back, as the top 25 team’s offense started to wake up. A 12-2 run for the Cyclones reduced TCU’s 14-point lead to just four, 33-29, with just over a minute remaining in the half.
Several blocks by Kevin Samuel in the final minute, plus a transition three from Noi, extended TCU’s lead to 36-29 - a score that carried into halftime.
Noi led all scorers with 15 first-half points, while Kendric Davis added 10 points, offsetting a 1-13 combined half for Robinson, Desmond Bane, and JD Miller.
The Frogs continued to pour it on in the second half, using a 12-5 to reclaim a 14-point lead early in the frame. Two baskets from Desmond Bane forced an Iowa State timeout at the 17:23 mark of the half, as TCU started 5-7 from the floor out of the break.
Hot shooting was a theme for TCU throughout the half, as they continued to pour in baskets as time waned down. More big baskets from Robinson, plus a beautiful lob pass from Davis to Big Kev put TCU up 63-47 at the 11:21 mark of the half.
The Frogs led by as many as 19 in the second half, 75-56, before Iowa State started their comeback.
As has happened several times this year, TCU’s big lead began to shrink, until, with under four minutes to go in the game, Iowa State had worked their deficit all the way down to nine points.
But, as they did time after time in the game, TCU responded. JD Miller scored his first basket of the game on a putback dunk, drawing a foul in the process. His free throw put TCU up 78-66 with 3:20 left in the game.
After a three from Iowa State, Desmond Bane drew another huge and-1 play for the Frogs, and his free throw put TCU up 81-69 with 2:31 left. Iowa State continued to push offensively, and they cut TCU’s lead to nine with 1:27 remaining.
At that point, Iowa State started fouling. Unfortunately, they fouled Desmond Bane. He made both free throws, putting TCU up 85-74. After a missed basket for ISU they fouled JD Miller. He missed both, but managed to get the ball back. After being fouled again, Miller made one of two.
Iowa State was propped up by Marial Shayok all day, and he hit a three with just under a minute left to make the score 86-57. Iowa State fouled JD Miller one more time, and he made both freebies.
Kendric Davis and Alex Robinson added a few more points as the clock waned, and TCU walked out of Hilton Coliseum with arguably their biggest win of the season.
Now, TCU prepares for a quick turnaround as they host Kansas at home on Monday night. TCU fans - get your butts to this game, and get there early. A win on Monday could absolutely redefine TCU’s season.