Things were supposed to get better this week for TCU.
The Horned Frogs were supposed get healthy, in a matter of speaking.
After all, they were blessed with a one-week hiatus from playing a ranked team and a six-day stay in Fort Worth before hitting the Big 12 road again.
Iowa State wasn’t supposed to lay down Wednesday night, nor was TCU expecting that, but the Cyclones weren’t supposed to play as well as Kansas and Oklahoma did in three of the Frogs’ first five conference games.
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Jaylen Fisher definitely wasn’t supposed to get hurt Tuesday in practice.
He did, and it’s a biggie.
So much for getting healthy, in a manner of speaking.
But at least Iowa State didn’t morph into a top-10 team.
Vladimir Brodziansky scored a game-high 26 points and Alex Robinson set the single-game school record with 17 assists as the No. 24-ranked Frogs raced past Iowa State for a 96-73 victory that snapped a three-game losing streak.
They did so with Fisher sitting a few feet away from the end of the bench. On Thursday, he’ll be in the middle of an operating table to repair an injury to his right knee.
TCU isn’t sure what the injury is — they suspect torn meniscus — because Fisher couldn’t straighten the leg for an MRI exam Tuesday night after the injury or all day Wednesday.
But this much is known: They don’t expect him to play again this season.
“Once it happened, we were pretty shocked,” Robinson said. “For us, it was just going and making sure we performed. He’s a big part of our team.”
Fisher entered Wednesday as the team leader in assists and third in scoring. He had played his best the past few games, a stretch that ended Saturday with a career-high 22 points.
TCU is down to eight healthy scholarship players. One, Desmond Bane, has been dealing with a strained right hip flexor. Another, Kenrich Williams, is nursing a bruised left knee but continues to pile up minutes and double-doubles.
He had another against the Cyclones, going for 11 points and 11 rebounds. JD Miller added a career-high 21 points and helped TCU (14-4, 2-4) stretch out to a 28-10 lead in the first half before the Cyclones (10-7, 1-5) cut their deficit to 12 at the half.
The final margin was the largest of the game for TCU, which saw Brodziansky score 16 points in the second half. He made 11 of 13 shots, with the only misses on 3-point tries.
“It was layups,” coach Jamie Dixon said. “I think a lot of it was Alex’s penetration.”
JUCO transfer Shawn Olden will see his minutes pick up, Dixon said. Olden, who started his career at Pepperdine, was the first guard off the bench and contributed some quality second-half minutes.
At one point, though, he came up limping following steal during a 14-5 run that helped TCU open a 70-53 lead.
Guard RJ Nembhard, the freshman from Keller, hasn’t practiced for a week because of knee and ankle injuries, and remains a candidate to redshirt. Just not as strong a candidate as he was before practice Tuesday.
“I’m not at all concerned about playing Shawn,” Dixon said. “His numbers haven’t been great, but we’ve been good when he’s in there.”
TCU heads to Kansas State on Saturday. All the Wildcats have done their past two games is lose at Kansas by one and beat Oklahoma, something TCU couldn’t do twice.
The Frogs will head north without Fisher. They don’t expect to have him the rest of the season.
“He was disappointed, obviously, with the injury,” Dixon said. “I feel bad for him. We all feel bad for him, but we have a job to do. That’s how our guys took it, and that’s what we did tonight.”
Jeff Wilson: 817-390-7760, @JeffWilson_FWST
IOWA ST. (10-7): Young 3-7 0-0 6, Lard 7-10 2-5 16, Weiler-Babb 2-7 0-0 4, Jackson 7-13 1-1 19, Wigginton 6-13 0-0 16, Brase 2-3 2-2 6, Beverly 0-0 0-0 0, Talley 3-5 0-0 6, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Long 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-59 5-8 73.
TCU (14-4): Miller 8-12 0-0 21, Brodziansky 11-13 4-4 26, Bane 4-11 0-0 9, Williams 5-7 0-1 11, Robinson 3-6 1-3 8, Hamdy 1-2 0-0 2, Noi 5-9 3-4 16, Crawford 0-0 0-0 0, Dry 0-0 0-0 0, Olden 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 38-63 8-12 96.
Halftime—TCU 47-35. 3-Point Goals—Iowa St. 8-16 (Wigginton 4-6, Jackson 4-7, Long 0-1, Weiler-Babb 0-1, Young 0-1), TCU 12-25 (Miller 5-6, Noi 3-6, Robinson 1-1, Williams 1-2, Olden 1-3, Bane 1-5, Brodziansky 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Iowa St. 27 (Lard 9), TCU 27 (Williams 11). Assists—Iowa St. 17 (Weiler-Babb 6), TCU 29 (Robinson 17). Total Fouls—Iowa St. 13, TCU 11. Technicals—Lard. A—6,894 (7,201).