TCU hung around and made No. 25 Oklahoma sweat.
And for a few tense minutes for Sooners fans at Lloyd Noble Center on Wednesday night, the Horned Frogs seemed poised to pounce on the upset.
In the final four minutes, however, TCU’s offense clammed up and the Sooners held on for a 77-69 win
TCU (9-9, 0-6 Big 12) tied it at 66-66 with 3:41 left in the game on Amric Fields’ layup on a nice dish under the basket from Hudson Price. The Frogs had hung close through much of the game by withstanding the Sooners’ furious full-court press at times that helped force a stretch of four turnovers in six TCU possessions.
Oklahoma (15-4, 4-2) led by as much as 11 late in the first half and led 59-49 with 10 minutes left in the game before Fields’ 3-pointer put an end to the string of turnovers with 9:38 remaining. Karviar Shepherd was fouled on Fields’ 3, allowing the Frogs to keep possession, and Kyan Anderson cut TCU’s deficit to 59-55 with 9:24 remaining.
“That’s probably as well as we’ve played in league play,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “We’re a lot better team than what we’ve shown in the previous five league games. So hopefully this will give us some confidence the remainder of the year so we can play better basketball.”
Anderson’s three-point play on a layup and free throw cut the Sooners’ lead to 66-64 with 4:15 to go, setting up Fields’ game-tying layup.
In the final four minutes, OU was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line, while TCU missed 3 of 4, including two misses by Brandon Parrish with the Frogs trailing 70-67 with 2:33 left.
The Frogs shot 43.1 percent from the field, a marked improvement from two consecutive games of sub-30 percent shooting. A layup and two free throws from Je’lon Hornbeak and Ryan Spangler’s two free throws and a 3-pointer with 33 seconds gave the Sooners a 9-0 run down the stretch to pull away.
“You just have to step up and knock the shot down,” said Anderson, who led TCU with 23 points and four assists. “That’s a great team and to have it that close at the end, I feel like we should have capitalized a little bit at the end on some plays and got it done.”
TCU missed shoot-around at noon Wednesday because of a brief campus security lockdown, but it didn’t seem to hurt its shooting. The Frogs trailed 40-36 at halftime after outscoring the Sooners 11-4 in the last 5:30.
Spangler finished with 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
“Karviar [Shepherd] played as good a game as he has all year because he had to for us to be in the game because of a guy like that,” Johnson said of Spangler, the Sooner’s burly 6-foot-8 forward, who leads the Big 12 in rebounding. “Our kids played hard. We had some [defensive] breakdowns but nothing was easy. Good players, good teams force you into that situation.”
Shepherd had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“At the end of the game it got away from us,” Shepherd sad. “We lost our man a couple times and they came out with easy buckets.”
TCU hosts No. 8 Kansas Saturday night.