For about two hours Tuesday night TCU players, coaches and students all got a glimpse of what they hope the future holds.
TCU held off Texas Tech 75-69 in front of an announced crowd of 6,290 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
Horned Frogs coach Jim Christian and his players got what they wanted: another hard-fought win in front of the best crowd for a nonconference game since Nov. 23, 2004 (7,218 against Texas Tech). The students, many lured by 100 free pizzas offered by the basketball program, saw an exciting win over a future Big 12 opponent.
TCU (7-2) is off to its best start since the 2000-01 season. The Frogs host Nebraska (4-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Cornhuskers have beaten the Frogs three consecutive seasons. It's the first visit to Daniel-Meyer by a Big Ten team since Purdue in 1996.
More pizzas Saturday?
"Our marketing department worked really, really hard to get the word out on this game to get our student body to come out and I was really proud of them," TCU coach Jim Christian said. "They came out tonight. We sent a blast e-mail out, spoke to every sorority and fraternity. We just want them to get a feel for what it could be like, and what it could be like this year, if they get behind this team. I really want them to have a basketball identity as well as other sports."
As for his team, their identity is becoming clear -- they're the cardiac kids. The Frogs won their sixth game by a margin of six or fewer points.
Texas Tech (4-4) fought back from a 13-point deficit with 5:44 remaining behind the play of Jordan Tolbert, a freshman forward who attended Fort Worth All Saints. Tolbert led all scorers with 27 points, despite playing with foul trouble. Tolbert's basket and two free throws cut TCU's lead to eight with 4:16 remaining, setting up another frantic finish for the Frogs. Jaron Nash's layup after a turnover, and Toddrick Gotcher's 3-pointer cut TCU's lead to 71-69 with 30 seconds left.
J.R. Cadot and Hank Thorns each made two free throws and Tech's DeShon Minnis missed two with under 12 seconds to play to seal the win. Tech's missed free throws came at the basket nearest TCU's band and student section.
"That led to the two misses," said Thorns, who finished with 15 points. "We had the band up, everybody was up screaming. It was a great atmosphere to play in."
Garlon Green and Cadot led the Frogs with 18 points each.