Sports

TCU adds to upset list by stunning No. 18 New Mexico

TCU pulled off another upset Saturday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

This time it wasn't even close.

The Horned Frogs outhustled, outmuscled and outplayed No. 18 New Mexico in the final 10 minutes and ran away with an 83-64 win in front of an announced crowd of 6,460. The approximately 4,000 that were in attendance were loud and appreciative of one of the best-played games by a TCU team in years.

It's the second win by TCU (17-11, 7-5 Mountain West) over a top-20 team in less than two weeks. The Frogs beat then-No. 11 UNLV in overtime Feb. 14. The Frogs clinched their first winning season in seven years while improving their chances for their first postseason tournament berth since 2004-05.

The Frogs won their eighth consecutive home game and are 6-0 at home in the MWC, while pegging New Mexico (22-6, 8-4) with its largest defeat of the season. It's only the second time TCU has beaten two Top 25 teams in consecutive opportunities.

"I couldn't be more proud of this team," TCU coach Jim Christian said. "It's as hard as a team has played that I've ever been around for one particular night. Even when they made runs at us we kept our composure."

TCU took control with a 10-0 run midway through the second half. Connell Crossland's one-handed rebound and dunk on a missed 3-pointer by Amric Fields started the surge. Fields then scored eight points in a 48-second stretch, concluding with a steal and layup to give TCU a 58-48 lead with 10:42 remaining.

Six Frogs scored in double figures, including J.R. Cadot, who led with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Hank Thorns had 14 points and nine assists. But it was the Frogs' defense that made the difference. The Lobos shot 41.8 percent and made just 4 of 17 shots from 3-point range.

"I think it was the best defensive effort we've put in all year," Christian said. "We deflected so many passes and we guarded the ball better than we have all year. You can't beat them unless you're tough and smart."

TCU has won its most MWC games in a season and is just a game out of first place behind New Mexico, No. 21 UNLV and No. 24 San Diego State. A year ago, the Frogs were mired in a 13-game losing streak and finished 1-15 in the league.

"We finally figured out we can do it," said Fields, who finished with 11 points and six rebounds. "It's unreal how you can turn it around in a year when everybody buys into the system."

The Frogs play at Wyoming on Tuesday before finishing the regular season at home against San Diego State.

"We're hungry. We're starving right now. That was just a little appetizer," Thorns said. "Our goal is to dance. That's something TCU hasn't done in years, and we feel like we're in a great position to do it. We feel like if we can finish in the top four [in the MWC] we have a great chance to make it to the NCAA Tournament."

Stefan Stevenson

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Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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