TCU’s 14-point loss to the eighth-place team in the Big 12 Tuesday night did not defy explanation.
In fact, it was easily apparent to point guard Chauncey Collins.
“We’re just all on different pages,” he said.
And to coach Trent Johnson.
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“Another one of our — what’s the appropriate word? — horrendous starts,” he said.
Both evaluations seemed to ring true after the Horned Frogs’ 63-49 loss to Kansas State at Schollmaier Arena. The loss dropped TCU (11-15, 2-11) into last place alone in the conference, held under 50 points for a second consecutive game.
Kansas State (15-11, 4-9) snapped a 13-game road losing streak in the conference.
An 8-0 run in the first four minutes did the trick.
TCU’s 49 points were its fewest at home since November 2012. The Frogs defeated Navy 47-45 on Nov. 20, 2012, and Prairie View A&M 44-39 on Nov. 18, 2012.
“I thought the first six to seven minutes, our lack of energy, our lack of intensity was probably as bad as it’s been all year at home,” Johnson said. “The first six to seven minutes was really an indication that we were not ready to play, and I just couldn’t put a finger on it.”
The eight straight points from Kansas State — a 3-pointer, a 3-point play and a couple of free throws — provided an 8-2 lead, and TCU was hardly a threat after that. There was a flurry of 3-pointers from the Horned Frogs around the nine-minute mark, but it was followed by three consecutive turnovers, and the game got away.
What happened? Why?
Collins knew the answer.
Sometimes we come out not ready to compete, not ready to play. Guess this was one of those nights we weren’t ready to compete.
TCU guard Chauncey Collins
“Sometimes we come out not ready to compete, not ready to play,” he said. “Guess this was one of those nights we weren’t ready to compete. We weren’t ready to play. We weren’t buying in. We weren’t listening.”
TCU had managed to rally from such bad starts before. Against Tennessee, the Frogs came back from a 14-point halftime deficit. A six-point halftime deficit against Oklahoma State also was erased.
But Tuesday night? No comeback. No sizzle. No nothing.
“We’re just all on different pages, I guess I would say,” Collins said. “It’s rare that we’re all listening, we’re all buying in. That’s pretty much how I’d say it. We’re hardly ever on the same page. When we are, we look good. But when we’re not, then, you know.”
Collins finished with nine points on 3-of-13 shooting. Malique Trent had 11 points and seven rebounds, and Devonta Abron added six points and eight rebounds for TCU.
But Chris Washburn went scoreless, sidelined by foul trouble, and played only 16 minutes.
That was part of it, too.
“It hurt us,” Collins said. “Wash has active hands. He rebounds the ball, he gets a lot of steals, he’s a great defensive player, he reads passing lanes, he reads drives. So him not being on the floor, it kind of downed us. Plus he talks. Wash gets us going. Him not being out there really hurt us.”
That’s been this team all year long vs. good people and good players and tough-minded people. The thing that’s just disturbing to me is our fan base deserves better.
TCU coach Trent Johnson
The Frogs ended up being outrebounded 40-31 and shot 32.7 percent (16-for-49). They committed 19 turnovers and had seven assists.
“That’s been this team all year long vs. good people and good players and tough-minded people,” Johnson said. “The thing that’s just disturbing to me is our fan base deserves better. We’ve had two games at home, Kansas — and that’s a different level — and K-State the first half that’s just really unacceptable.”
The regular season has five games left for TCU, plus at least one game in the Big 12 tournament. Johnson explained what he wants to see next.
“It’s between your ears. They can look themselves in the mirror, because I know I do all the time,” he said. “And we can figure out a way, however many games we’ve got remaining, to play good basketball — competitive basketball. And forget the score. Just compete your tail off.”
Kansas State (15-11) — Johnson 2-3 0-1 4, Iwundu 1-10 2-3 5, Wade 4-10 5-6 14, Brown 6-9 0-2 16, Edwards 5-10 6-7 17, Ervin II 0-2 0-0 0, Budke 0-3 3-6 3, Hurt 1-2 2-4 4. Totals 19-49 18-29 63.
TCU (11-15) — Abron 0-4 6-8 6, Washburn 0-1 0-2 0, Collins 3-13 2-2 9, Trent 4-8 2-7 11, Parrish 1-8 2-2 4, M. Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Brodziansky 4-4 0-0 8, Miller 3-7 2-2 9, Shepherd 1-4 0-1 2. Totals 16-49 14-24 49.
Halftime—Kansas St. 35-24. 3-Point Goals—Kansas St. 7-15 (Brown 4-6, Edwards 1-2, Wade 1-3, Iwundu 1-4), TCU 3-16 (Miller 1-3, Trent 1-3, Collins 1-7, Shepherd 0-1, Parrish 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Kansas St. 40 (Iwundu 6), TCU 31 (Abron 8). Assists—Kansas St. 13 (Edwards, Ervin II, Iwundu 3), TCU 7 (Parrish, Trent, M. Williams 2). Total Fouls—Kansas St. 19, TCU 23. A—4,999.