Frankly, TCU Basketball didn’t deserve to win this game. A flurry of turnovers, 13 in the first half and nine in the second, and absolutely awful execution down the stretch led to an incredibly disappointing, but hardly unsurprising, loss — the Frogs first on the road this season.
There’s nothing easy about winning on the road in the Big 12, and Oklahoma State, despite being banned from the postseason, hasn’t made life easy for any opponent — just ask then-#1 Baylor, who fell to them Saturday. But the Frogs were up by nine after Charles O’Bannon put the hammer down with 3:16 remaining, and looked to be in cruise control on their way to a third Big 12 win.
Unfortunately, that was as good as things would get.
Credit to Mike Boynton’s squad, who could have easily thrown in the towel when Chuck threw down, but scrapped and clawed to stay in the game, using a staunch defensive effort and taking advantage of numerous TCU miscues down the stretch.
Cowboy Bryce Thompson answered the dunk with a three, and the Frogs promptly turned it over, missed a three, and committed a foul over the next minute plus of action. Two Avery Anderson free throws cut the lead to just four, but Francisco Farabello hit a pair from the charity stripe, part of his season-high 12 points, to create a little breathing room. But one of the country’s best offensive rebounding teams forgot how to box out on the defensive end, as the Pokes got a pair of free throws and a three pointer off of offensive rebounds to cut the TCU lead to just one with 31 seconds to play.
That’s when things got really ugly for TCU.
After a scramble and nearly multiple turnovers against the OSU press, O’Bannon somehow managed to tip the ball up court to Jacoke Coles, who made the very poor decision to go up for a layup with 20 seconds remaining instead of throwing the ball back out and forcing the Pokes to foul. He was, predictably, blocked, and Rondel Walker corralled the rebound. Oklahoma State went quickly to work on offense, with Walker blowing right by Miles on the other end. It appeared his layup was blocked by O’Bannon, who came flying in, but a foul was called on Miles, leading to two free throw attempts and providing the winning margin as Walker calmly hit both.
The Frogs got one last look, as Miles drew a double team and wisely kicked it to the wing, where Damion Baugh — the hero at K State — got a solid look at a three. This time, the miracle was not meant to be.
Chuck O’Bannon led the Frogs with 13 points and Farabello added a dozen. After missing his first ten shots, Miles bounced back with eight, but it seems clear at this point that the wristhe injured against Baylor is still bothering him, as he’s had just 14 points in his last two games combined after scoring in double digits every game prior. The Frogs hit just seven of their 20 three point attempts, went 11-17 from the free throw line, and shot just 34% from the field. The OSU defense was good, but it was a stagnant and disappointing offensive night for a team that had looked to turn the corner on that end of the floor coming into their fourth conference game. Damion Baugh had more than half of the team’s assists with six, on a night they had just 11 total on 19 made field goals. The difference in the game was two free throws; Oklahoma State hit 13 of their 23 attempts, while both teams had 19 made field goals (the Cowboys made one fewer three). Points in the paint were even at 22, and while TCU dominated the boards — 44-33 — their 22 turnovers compared to OSU’s 11 (just two in the second half), made up for the disparity there.
TCU, now 2-2 in Big 12 play and 12-3 overall, must regroup with a tough test coming in Ames on Saturday. The matchup with #22 Iowa State is the first of three straight ranked opponents for the Frogs, who will face Texas and LSU at home following the road tilt to Iowa.
Things don’t get any easier for a team that has been firmly entrenched on the bubble at this early point in the conference season, but can’t afford to give away games they led late if they want to be dancing come March.