March 10, 2013

TCU stuns Oklahoma in regular-season finale

TCU wins its second Big 12 game of the season with 70-67 upset of Oklahoma.

TCU pulled off another upset Saturday, one last impressive sendoff for four seniors.

Garlon Green, playing in his last home game, led the Horned Frogs with 18 points as TCU held off Oklahoma 70-67 to capture its second Big 12 win of the season.

Just as they did in their Feb. 6 upset of then-No. 5 Kansas, the Frogs (11-20, 2-16 Big 12) never trailed the Sooners in front of about 4,000 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

TCU led 44-22 at the half and built a 25-point lead early in the second half before Oklahoma (20-10, 11-7) started to rally. The Sooners went on a 16-0 run with just under 11 minutes remaining to cut TCU’s lead to 59-58 with 4:23 left.

But the Frogs got a break with 4:06 remaining: another possession. Nate Butler Lind missed both free-throw attempts, but Oklahoma lost the rebound out of bounds on the second miss.

Fort Worth Trimble Tech ex Charles Hill Jr. zipped a pass to the 3-point arc at Green, who sank his fourth 3-pointer of the night to give TCU a 62-58 lead with 3:42 remaining. Green was 6 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 4 from 3-point range. His four makes are a career-high.

“It means a lot,” said Green, who has played in a TCU-record 128 games. “I’ll remember that the rest of my life. My teammates were playing hard. When Charles penetrated and kicked it [out], it was a great pass. I felt like I needed to knock it down for the team. We definitely needed a win going into the tournament.”

TCU opens up its first Big 12 tournament against Texas (15-16, 7-11) at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. Texas Tech and West Virginia play at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

TCU started the game on fire, making eight of its first 10 shots and shot over 70 percent from the field the first 10 minutes. Seniors scored the Frogs’ first 15 points as they built a 15-7 lead six minutes in.

The Frogs didn’t relent, either, going on a 12-0 run late in the first half to push the lead up to 32-14 with 6:33 left before halftime.

“People were bad-mouthing our ability to get another win,” said Hill, who had 13 points and four assists. “To win on senior night was big for our confidence. ... We really keyed in our defense. And then we let our defense build the offense. Everyone played together on defense, and we let it go over to our offensive side.”

Kyan Anderson had 11 points, seven assists and just one turnover. Senior Connell Crossland scored 13 points and led the Frogs with seven rebounds.

Butler Lind, also a senior, only had five points, but his driving baseline layup with a minute remaining stretched the Frogs’ lead to 65-61.

After an OU tip-in cut it back to a three-point game, TCU broke Oklahoma’s press with a fast-break dunk from Green — his last field goal at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum — on an assist from Devonta Abron.

“You’ll remember whether you do good or bad the rest of your life,” Green said. “We all had the feeling that we wanted to win and play hard.”

Oklahoma was 0 for 16 from 3-point range and finished the game shooting 36.4 percent. Their final 3-point attempt, by Sam Grooms, bounced off the front of the rim as time expired.

TCU shot 54 percent, its best-shooting night in the Big 12. Before shooting 50 percent in Tuesday’s loss at Kansas State, TCU hadn’t shot above 39 percent in league play all season.

“We’re playing better,” Frogs coach Trent Johnson said. “I got to believe they feel good about themselves. Anytime you play well on the road against a team as good as [Kansas State is], I got to believe it helps. But the clock is running down, so we’ll see. We played well two times in a row. I don’t think we’ve done that all year long.”

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