STILLWATER, Okla. -- TCU coach Trent Johnson said it best. After his Horned Frogs were thoroughly outplayed against Oklahoma State on Wednesday night, he opened his postgame press conference with an observation that may capture the entire 2012-13 season.
"I don't think there's any basketball team we could catch at the right time," said Johnson, who's in his first season with TCU. "But this is a basketball team [OSU] that had a little chip and they were ready to play."
That's a bad combination for the Frogs, who are playing without three key players -- two starters and a freshman center who likely was destined to start this season.
The Cowboys (11-3, 1-1 Big 12), a week removed from the Top 25, snapped a two-game losing streak by pulling away early and winning handily, 63-45, before 7,502 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
OSU's 20-9 run to close the first half put the Cowboys up 36-22 and the Frogs trailed by at least 14 for the rest of the night. It would have been worse if Charles Hill Jr., a freshman from Fort Worth Trimble Tech High School playing a career-high 24 minutes, hadn't hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer before halftime.
In fact, Johnson pointed out, the final score could have been a lot worse considering TCU (9-6, 0-2) was outrebounded 40-17 and outshot 52 to 36 percent. A season-high 24 turnovers for OSU led to 19 points for TCU, which could have been a game-changer if not for the Frogs' 21 turnovers that led to 17 Cowboys points.
TCU's inability to feed the low posts held Devonta Abron and Adrick McKinney to a combined seven points on 11 shots. Abron was held scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting after scoring 16 against Texas Tech on Saturday. Garlon Green and Kyan Anderson scored 20 and 10 points, but Anderson scored all of his in the second half.
Johnson pointed to OSU's 6-foot-11 center Philip Jurick as one reason why TCU's big men struggled in the paint. Forward Michael Cobbins also had three of OSU's five blocks.
"Both Devonta and Adrick aren't going to jump over the top and shoot over anybody," he said. "They tried to force the issue a little bit, tried to create angles. ...We got caught stepping off and trying to face the big fella and it just doesn't work like that. Not against good teams; not against well-coached teams."
OSU outscored TCU 30-14 in the paint. Guards Markel Brown and Marcus Smart each had 14 points for the Cowboys and forward Le'Bryan Nash had 13.
"They have a level of nastiness to them that I really like and that's a positive," Johnson said. "I thought my guys fought. They did the best they could. We had some guys that struggled to score, struggled to shoot."
Another reason for TCU's struggles inside was its inability to feed it down low.
"We have guys who have a hard time feeding the post because of their skill level," he said. "It is what it is. A lot of that has to do with Oklahoma State's ability to make plays and defend. We're playing good teams."
It doesn't get any easier for the Frogs. They're at Baylor (10-4, 2-0) at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Bears pummeled Tech 82-48 in Lubbock on Tuesday.