Short-handed Frogs defeat Iowa 94-92 in overtime, advance to third round of NIT

TCU advanced to the NIT quarterfinals on Sunday, after beating Iowa, 94-92 in overtime. The Frogs were short-handed.

The Horned Frogs were able to overcome to absence of freshman guard Jaylen Fisher due to a broken wrist Sunday afternoon in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament, knocking off the top-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes 94-92 in overtime at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Frogs let a late two-point lead escape when Iowa’s Tyler Cook finished a lay-up in the closing seconds of regulations to knot the contest at 84-84 and force overtime, but the Frogs bounced back by never trailing in the extra period. A Kenrich Williams dunk with just over three minutes to play in overtime put the TCU up 88-86, and the Frogs never let go of it, building a lead by as much as six points before emerging victorious when the final buzzer sounded.

“We found a way, and we've been doing that lately, and that's called growing up,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “That's what we did.”

Alex Robinson and Vladimir Brodizansky led the charge for the Frogs in the victory, each recording 19 points while Robinson also picked up a team high 11 assists.

“I thought Alex was terrific,” Dixon said. “Obviously the 11 assists, constantly in the lane. We played him 44 minutes. We rode him, rode him and rode him, put him in ball screen situations, and let him get in the lane.”

Three other Horned Frogs; Desmond Bane, Kenrich Williams and Brandon Parrish, also recorded double-digit scoring performances, ultimately overcoming Fisher’s absence from the court.

“I thought Kenrich did some great things and Brandon was huge for us,” Dixon said. “Offensively we just responded, like you say. I thought we had some good defensive possessions, and I mean, I really just thought they were making shots. I mean, tough shots, and our defense was pretty good on times when they made shots.”

Dixon described Bane as a “grown up freshman” for his 13-point performance that included six successful free-throws.

“Desmond was terrific,” Dixon said. “I thought he was passing up some threes early and driving, and we told him to shoot the ball. He had a big three in the second half.”

TCU finished the afternoon shooting 51 percent from the field, opposed to Iowa’s 55 percent. The Hawkeyes’ success was largely from beyond the arc, draining 53 percent of their three pointers, but the Frogs held a 67 to 42 percent edge in free-throws and 55 to 39 percent edge in points in the paint.

“It [points in the paint] is something we emphasize because we want to get there and we want to drive it, and we got some good minutes out of a lot of guys,” Dixon said,

The Frogs didn’t necessarily enjoy a hot start in the win, trailing by seven points just more than two minutes into the contest. The defining moment in the first half may very well have been an 11-0 TCU run that sent the Frogs from being down six to ahead by five, with nine of the points coming off three Kenrich Williams three-pointers.

TCU would build its lead to as much as seven in the first half before squandering it on a 9-0 Hawkeye run, but fought back to take a 44-40 lead into halftime. An 11-4 run out of the gate in the second half put the Frogs up by 11 just under four minutes in, but Iowa fought back in the final minutes of the regulation en route to regaining a one-point lead with less than two minutes to play, propelled by a late 7-0 run.

A Bane free-throw ended the run and a Brodziansky lay-up with 26 seconds to play gave the Frogs the lead back briefly, but Cook found the basket on a lay-up with just 11 seconds to play for Iowa, tying things up and sending the winner-take-all affair to overtime.

Once the extra period got underway, Brodziansky finished a lay-up 26 seconds in for the first score of overtime to put TCU back up by two. After Cook responded once again, this time with a dunk, TCU embarked on a 6-0 run, and the rest was history – the Frogs survived against one of the best teams the NIT had to offer, and earned the chance to advance to New York City should they emerge victorious again next week.

“This is an unbelievable environment, an unbelievable place,” Dixon said of Sunday’s game. “I've always heard it is. And Fran is a great coach. I thought it was a great game, obviously. Thank you for the opportunity.”

TCU will face the winner of Oakland and Richmond Tuesday night back at the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth. Tip-off time is to be determined. The Frogs will be without Fisher once again, who is out for the remainder of the season due to the wrist injury.

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