HOUSTON -- Garlon Green and TCU wanted to close with a win before heading into the Christmas break and an eight-day respite.
The Horned Frogs, led by Green's career-high 31 points, held off Rice 65-63 on Saturday night before a crowd of 1,549 at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Green, who attended Fort Bend Hightower in nearby Missouri City, made a career-high 10 of 16 field goals, including 3-of-4 from the 3-point arc. He also had four assists and three rebounds.
Green's free throw with 21 seconds left gave TCU a 64-61 lead, but Rice's Julian DeBose made a layup to cut the deficit back to one eight seconds later. Kyan Anderson made 1 of 2 free throws with 13 seconds left to push the lead back to 65-63. Tamir Jackson's 3-point attempt at the buzzer was no good.
"Under the circumstances, I think our guys played pretty well," said TCU coach Trent Johnson, who is missing three starters because of injuries. "Any time you can get a win on the road with limited bodies ... we're playing well. We're finding ways."
The Frogs (8-4) have put together consecutive games in which their offense has matched their defense and they've dominated the backboards. TCU shot nearly 50 percent from the field and again found scoring balance in unlikely places.
Walk-on guard Chris Zurcher scored five points and played solid defense in 26 minutes of action. Connell Crossland had nine points and 11 rebounds, and Adrick McKinney finished with 10 rebounds and 10 points. TCU outrebounded Rice 38-17.
It looked as if TCU might skate out of Houston with an easy victory as the Frogs led by 18 early in the second half. But the Owls (3-8) made 10 of their first 12 shots after halftime and had the Frogs reeling with a 12-0 run that cut the lead to five with 14:04 left.
Zurcher's 3-pointer slowed Rice's momentum with 13:35 to go but could never shake the Owls again. The final six minutes TCU led by five only once, with 2:00 to go when McKinney came up with a key offensive rebound and scored. Green's free throw extended TCU's lead to four with 1:25 left and his steal on the other end put Rice in a bind.
"This is a good win for us," said Green, who had a large cheering section in the stands. "We've won two in a row and we're just trying to build momentum. It's obviously a good feeling coming home. I wanted to help get the W for the team. My teammates are setting really hard screens for me and motivating me. I'm just doing my part by putting the ball in the hole."