One day removed from a stunning 85-82
The Horned Frogs were eliminated from Big 12 title contention with the semifinals loss, and likely lost all hopes of sneaking into the NCAA Tournament as well, finishing with a record of 19-15.
The Iowa State duo of Monte Morris and Deonte Burton proved to be too much for TCU head coach Jamie Dixon’s young squad to handle, as the two combined for a total of 37 points on the night. Morris recorded 22, while Burton finished with 15, nine of which came from beyond the arc. The Cyclones dropped 12 three-point shots in the victory, opposed to a mere five from the Frogs.
“Obviously they [Iowa State] outplayed us and deserved to win,” Dixon said. They played well and we didn't.”
Jaylen Fisher and Vladimir Brodziansky were the lone Horned Frogs to finish the night with double-digit numbers in scoring, each recording 10 in the loss. Kenrich Williams once again led the Frogs in rebounds at eight.
The game appeared to be on its way to becoming a close affair when the Frogs and Cyclones were tied at 4-4 just more than four minutes into the contest, with Brodziansky and Morris responsible for all four of their respective team’s points. The Frogs briefly went ahead 6-4, but the lead vanished when the Cyclones went on a 10-0 scoring run, propelled by two three-pointers.
The Frogs never regained the lead, trailing 44-27 at halftime before going down by as much as 26 midway through the second quarter. The decisive stretch may very well have been the 9-0 scoring run that Iowa State embarked on for its first of four 26 point leads on the night.
The Frogs regained some ground late, but not until the deficit was too much to overcome and the Cyclones began subbing in the starters as the clock wound down.
TCU finished the night only shooting 39 percent from the field with a 26 percent success rate from beyond the arc, while Iowa State sank 56 percent of their shots with a 48 percent success rate from three-point range.
“I think when our shots didn't go down it affected our defense as most teams and got them
The Frogs also fell in the rebounding department, 32-31, despite owning a 10-5 edge in offensive rebounding.
Aside from a mismatch in talent, fatigue was an evident factor in the loss, as it was the third straight day the Frogs had competed on the hardwood following their victories over Oklahoma and Kansas on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Nobody wants to make excuses. We don't want to say fatigue was a factor, but when you go out there and missing layups, most of your jump shots are missing short, not running back on defense, not as active on loose balls as we were the two previous games, it was pretty evident,” TCU senior Brandon Parrish said. “But regardless of fatigue we tried to fight in spite of the outcome, in spite of shots not going our way, I feel like we still gave it our all and just came up short.”
With the NCAA Tournament likely out of the picture, the Frogs appear to be headed to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). An invitation to either would mark TCU’s first postseason appearance since Spring
Though not the ultimate goal, Dixon said earning an invitation to the NIT is nonetheless a step in the right direction.
“It's hard to make the NIT with the automatic bids in the NCAA,” Dixon said. “There are no losing records. There are no 500 teams……it's an accomplishment for our guys. I want to get that across to them. It's huge progress.”
Dixon added that he hopes the ending to the 2016-17 campaign serves a valuable learning point as the team continues to trend in the right direction after four bumpy years in the Big 12 prior to his arrival.
"From a year ago when I came here it's a definite step for us and we're going to use that as a positive going forward here,” Dixon said. “But I like how we fought. We got to learn to -- when they get physical we've got to come back the other way and we've got to do that.”
Teams and seedings for both the NIT and NCAA Tournaments will be announced on Sunday, March 12th.