TCU’s Kyan Anderson played about as well as he’s capable of Tuesday night at Bramlage Coliseum.
But for the most part, he was a one-man band against Kansas State — one of the deeper, most balanced teams in the country.
On a night that Anderson, an alumnus of North Crowley High School, flirted with a career-high in points — he finished with 29, six fewer than his career-best against Alabama-Birmingham in November — five Wildcats scored in double figures, as KSU held off a frisky Horned Frogs team 79-68 in front of a sellout crowd of 12,528 on hand to say goodbye to the Kansas State seniors.
“I know for a fact that’s as good as we’ve played on the road,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “I think Kyan was as good as he has been all year long. It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t get a couple plays made down the stretch defensively and offensively to give us a chance to win this thing.”
Instead, it was the ninth-ranked Wildcats (25-5, 14-3 Big 12) coming up with all the big shots each time they needed to slow a TCU rally.
The Frogs (10-20, 1-16) opened up the second half on a 12-2 run as Charles Hill Jr., Adrick McKinney and Garlon Green each hit shots to close KSU’s lead to 44-39 with 14:29 remaining in the game. Hill had consecutive steals, and Anderson had two assists during the run, including a fast-break pass to McKinney for a dunk that forced a hint of concern from Wildcats fans.
But Thomas Gipson, a sophomore from Cedar Hill High School, put back a rebound to stop the bleeding and then converted a three-point play the next time down the court to push KSU’s lead back to 49-41 with 13:26 left.
After two free throws from Devonta Abron cut the lead to six, Angel Rodriguez’s 3-pointer seemed to give the Wildcats’ enough breathing room with a nine-point cushion. But Anderson returned the favor with his fifth 3-pointer of the night, a career-high. He finished 10 of 15 from the field, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
“You have to give some credit to TCU and coach Johnson,” KSU coach Bruce Weber said. “They battled. They played hard. We get up 15; they didn’t quit. Anderson was a handful to deal with. He got going. He was the one guy who could make a difference, and he sure kept them in the game.”
Anderson never let up. After the 3-pointer, he burned Rodriguez with a quick drive for a layup to cut the deficit to 52-48 with 10:58 remaining. After another Rodriguez 3, Anderson answered with two more nifty driving layups, drawing a foul on the second and hitting the free throw to cut KSU’s lead to 58-53 with 8:56 to go.
From there, however, the Wildcats’ overwhelming talent advantage took over, and 3-pointers from Rodriguez and Martavious Irving went unanswered. Rodriguez led KSU with 21 points and 10 assists, while Gipson, Irving, Rodney McGruder and Shane Southwell each scored in double figures.
Along with Anderson’s 29 points, Devonta Abron had 10, Green had nine and Hill had eight for TCU, which shot 50 percent from the field for the first time in the Big 12 and for the first time since Dec. 18. The Frogs’ 68 points is also their team-best in Big 12 play and their most since that Dec. 18 win over Southern.
“That’s the best we’ve played in a long time,” Anderson said. “I felt like, for the most part, we were all locked in. At the end of the day, we played good; they played better.”