For almost 30 minutes Wednesday night, TCU was matching Kansas State shot for shot.
But in the final 10 minutes, the Horned Frogs were outplayed by the deeper and fresher Wildcats, who pulled away for a 65-53 win in front of 11,969 at Bramlage Coliseum.
Karviar Shepherd’s rebound and putback tied the game at 42-42 with less than 13 minutes remaining, but Will Spradling responded with a 3-pointer and K-State (18-8, 8-5 Big 12) was off to the races.
The Wildcats outscored the Frogs 23-11 the final 12 minutes and seemed to mop up half of their 47 rebounds in a decisive 15-2 run that put the game away with seven minutes left.
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“Boy, oh, boy, it sounds like a broken record,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “We just got worn down. Their physicality, especially in the post, they just wore us down.”
TCU was outrebounded 47-24 and allowed 15 second-chance points.
Kyan Anderson once again turned in a valiant effort, leading TCU (9-16, 0-13) with 23 points. But as was the case at Kansas on Saturday afternoon, Anderson did most of his best work at the end of the first half.
All of his 17 first-half points came in the final 9:07 of the half. He scored all but two of the Frogs’ last 19 points of the half. He was 6 of 7 from the field, but K-State held him to 1 for 5 in the second half.
After Shepherd pulled the Frogs to within 48-44 with 10:15 remaining, TCU failed to score for the next three minutes as Jarvis Ray, Hudson Price, Shepherd and Anderson each missed open jumpers, perhaps another example of being worn down by a deeper opponent. It allowed K-State to pull away with a 13-point lead with under seven minutes left.
“Then the ball didn’t go down for us and we just couldn’t keep them off the glass, and that’s not a lack of effort but a matter of them being deeper,” Johnson said. “We don’t make shots to take the lead it puts a lot of pressure on us.”
Price played perhaps his best game as a Frog, finishing with seven points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. The freshman was the most physical under the basket that he’s been.
“It’s been awhile, but Hudson, like a lot of guys on this team, has been dealing with a lot of injuries,” Johnson said. “He’s been showing glimpses. The thing I liked about it, for the most part, is he got his hands on some tough plays in the lane, rebounding and loose balls.”
Shepherd was not on the floor for part of the flurry of offensive rebounds that helped K-State pull away, partially because of foul trouble. He played 27 minutes and finished with 12 points and four rebounds. K-State had 18 offensive rebounds to TCU’s six.
As Johnson said, it has been a broken record issue for the Frogs this season. And it has no easy fix while four players, including three who play in the paint, are unavailable.
“It’s everybody rebounding, including me, especially with the limited amount of players we have,” Anderson said. “We all have to get down in there in the paint and do our best at rebounding.”