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TCU 76, Iowa State 72: The Horned Frogs prevail in another close game

TCU moves to 12-10 on the season and 5-8 in Big 12 play.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Texas Christian Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

TCU Men’s Basketball completed the season sweep against Iowa State tonight in Ames coming away with a 76-72 victory in a tight ballgame. This brings the Horned Frogs record to 12-10 overall this season and 5-8 in Big 12 play.

The Frogs had an extremely strong first half holding the lead for all but the first 20 seconds. The offense was clicking early, there was good ball movement, and the Frogs were finding open shots nearly every possession.

A large portion of the Frogs’ early success can be attributed to Chuck O’Bannon Jr. and Taryn Todd. Chucky Buckets started the game 3-3 from deep, leading all first half scorers with nine points while Todd had eight points on 3-4 shooting.

With 4:00 remaining in the first half, the Frogs held a 14-point lead(35-21) though it was quickly diminished by a 9-2 Cyclone run to end the half. Maintaining leads has been a major struggle for the Frogs’ this season, so it’s hard to say this was a surprise, but unlike previous games TCU held on ‘til the end.

A huge reason TCU was leading this game for 36:37 out of the 40 minutes was thanks to rebounding and free throws — two of basketball’s most important fundamentals. The Frogs’ have relatively struggled in these categories, but that completely changed tonight. TCU shot a perfect 18-18(100%) from the free throw line as well as out-rebounded the Cyclones 33-28.

One can only imagine how many games the Frogs would have won this season shooting 100% from the line…

The Frogs had an efficient night on the defensive side of the ball as well. Overall, TCU scored 21 points off of 13 forced turnovers while holding the Cyclones to only 11 points off their 12 forced turnovers. TCU had nine steals on the night led by RJ Nembhard with three.

Overall, the Frogs were clearly the better team in the first half on both ends of the court, but the second half was when things got dicey. 10 minutes into the second, Iowa State went on a 9-0 run to give them their first lead of the night and put the Frogs down by three(56-53). After that run, the game was within one possession for the majority of the final ten minutes until the Frogs broke away in the final seconds thanks to some clutch free throws.

Mike Miles and RJ Nembahrd combined to shoot 7-7 from the charity stripe in the final 1:35 of the game. Talk about clutch genes. If it weren’t for knocking down late-game free throws, Iowa State would have had an opportunity to send the game to overtime in the final seconds.

Miles and Nembhard didn’t only come through in the clutch, they balled out all game! Miles finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists while Nembhard dropped 19 points, 2 assists and 3 steals. The Horned Frogs had four players — Miles, Nembhard, Samuel, and O’Bannon Jr. — finish the game with double-digit points.

After tonight’s 76-72 result, TCU takes control of the all-time series against Iowa State with a 13 to 12 advantage. This marks the fifth consecutive meeting between these teams where the game has been decided by six points or less.

The Horned Frogs will be back in action this Tuesday as they travel to Lubbock to play their rescheduled game against No. 18 Texas Tech.