Thorns Carries Frogs to Victory

Occasionally, a special player has a special night. Kobe Bryant went for 81. Christian Laettner hit big shot after big shot in his college career. Michael Jordan had several of these nights.

In TCU lore, the likes of Jamie Dixon and James Cash have had those memorable nights.

Tonight, Hank Thorns added himself to the TCU history books.

When it mattered, he was unbeatable.

When TCU needed a big shot, he hit it.

When the Frogs finally needed him to salt the game away with two free throw. He did it.

The senior point guard who hails from Las Vegas wanted to beat UNLV worse than any other team on the schedule.

"Those are my guys in that [UNLV] locker room. I grew up with those guys. Anthony Marshall is like my brother. In the summers, I play with those guys," Thorns said. "They know me and I know them."

Tonight, Hank Thorns outgrew ‘those guys.' Thorns finished with 32 points, hitting eight three pointers. Eight of those 32 points came in overtime where Thorns put his team on his back.

"Hank is a great player. He is an all-conference player in my mind, and he made some huge huge plays," Christian said.

"When we got down if you were in our huddles, I knew they were coming back," Christian said about his resilient Horned Frog team. "I knew that we got huge play from everyone who stepped on the floor. You can't beat the #11 team in the country if everyone doesn't bring their A-game."

TCU fell behind by 18 points with 14:57 to play in the contest. By the five minute mark, TCU had cut the lead to six. Finally with 2:58 to play in the game, TCU tied the game at 83.

"I thought our kids were so resilient tonight," Christian said. "Hank Thorns made some huge plays when he had to make them, and I am so happy for our seniors."

"We have had some opportunities like this in the past, and I told them in the walk-through that you have to raise your level," Christian said. "Emotionally we raised our level tonight. I am so proud of everything that they did."

TCU's home win streak now sits at seven games. The Frogs move to 5-4 in Mountain West Conference play.

Thorns was joined in double figures by fellow senior guard J.R. Cadot who finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

"A win like this should motivate us to come out and take care of business next game. It should motivate us to move forward with 100 percent confidence," Cadot said. "It was crazy, man. It was one of the best feelings of my life.

"Hearing that buzzer sound, I was like ‘wow.' I just can't believe it. I still can't believe it. I probably need to go lay down and let it kick in," Cadot said.

Amric Fields also finished in double figures with 17 points. Garlon Green had 13.

From the 11:33 mark in the second half, TCU outrebounded UNLV 19-7. Seven of those 19 rebounds were offensive.

"Rebounding was huge tonight," Christian said.

For the game, TCU shot 47 percent, and the Rebels shot 53 percent, but TCU finished regulation on a 14-4 run.

For Thorns, it was a career-high in points. In the first half, Thorns had 16 points after hitting five three pointers. He scored eight in overtime as well.

UNLV was led in scoring by Mike Moser who finished with 22 points, but only eight rebounds which is well below his season average.

The win should also bring a sigh of relief to TCU head coach Jim Christian. The win was easily the biggest in the Christian era, and his team has gotten on a nice roll at home.

Point guard Hank Thorns said he was just as happy for his coach as he was for his teammates.

"It feels great to win this for coach," Thorns said. "I hugged coach and told him that I love him. I said ‘you deserve this as much as we do."

Thorns had one more thing to say before he finished.

"There should be no more talks about him going anywhere. He is a great coach," Thorns said. "We have a great coaching staff. We play hard for these guys because they work just as hard for us."

TCU will now play back to back road games at Boise State and at Air Force. The Frogs return home to face New Mexico on February 25.

"If you missed this game tonight, you missed a great one," Christian said.

A great one, indeed.

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