You could see it coming.
Even when Kyan Anderson’s layup pulled TCU within two of Iowa State with 5:28 remaining, the agonizing trend for the Horned Frogs’ seemed inevitable.
And so it was.
The 17th-ranked Cyclones outscored the Frogs 12-3 in the in final 5:11 Saturday afternoon to hold on for a 71-60 win in front of 5,778 in attendance at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
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DeAndre Kane and Georges Niang hit consecutive layups, including Niang’s three-point play, which gave ISU its first sturdy lead of the game at 64-57 with 4:35 remaining.
TCU (9-17, 0-14 Big 12) was 1 for 5 from the field and made 1 of 3 free throws in the final five minutes.
“I wish the ball would have went down for a couple guys,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “We were in a pretty good situation there throughout the first half and late in the second half, and the ball didn’t go down for us.”
The Frogs were without starting forward Amric Fields, who did not dress for the game. Johnson said Fields needed rest, especially for his knee, which he injured early last season and had multiple surgeries to repair.
The injury has hindered Fields’ progress because soreness limits his ability to practice regularly between games. The lack of practice has prevented him from getting back to game shape as fast he’d like. He also dealt with a broken hand, which forced him to miss four games in December.
“It was like he was playing on one leg,” Johnson said. “His conditioning was really bad, and the worst thing you can do as a coach is put a kid out there with a bad knee and he’s playing through fatigue.”
Johnson said he’s not sure if Fields will play Monday against Oklahoma State. TCU has seven scholarship players available without him.
Still, against the Cyclones, the fourth-best scoring team in the country (84.1 points per game), the Frogs were hanging tough, in part because of one their best rebounding efforts in league play. Karviar Shepherd had 15 rebounds, one shy of his career high. Iowa State held a slight 38-35 edge on the glass and was limited to just four second-chance points.
The Cyclones (21-5, 9-5), however, owned the paint, outscoring the Frogs 56-32 inside, with Kane (20 points), Niang (19 points) and Melvin Ejim (14 points) doing most of the damage. Iowa State was a season-low 1 for 11 from 3-point range
“They dictated tempo that entire game,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said of TCU. “They gave themselves a chance to win that game.
“It’s a team that plays extremely hard. We gave them confidence early in the game to hang around and have a chance.”
TCU led for much of the first half before Iowa State took its first lead with 90 seconds remaining and led 32-30 at the break.
“We’re improving, we’re improving a lot from the beginning of the season and the beginning of conference,” said Shepherd, who had 14 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and two steals. “We were playing pretty well but at the end, we need an extra spurt.”