Not many teams were going to keep up with Iowa State, the Big 12’s second-best team, on Saturday night.
But on Senior Night, TCU gave it a shot.
The Horned Frogs played at their highest offensive level of the season, shooting 41.9 percent, getting double-digit scoring from four players and hitting 7-of-18 3-pointers. They operated at just about peak efficiency.
The problem was, so did Iowa State. The Cyclones shot 71.4 percent in the second half in an 89-76 victory that left TCU with a 17-14 regular season, 4-14 in the Big 12.
It also wrapped up the final game at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center and the final home season for TCU seniors Kyan Anderson, Trey Zeigler and Amric Fields. They combined for 38 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.
“It wasn’t supposed to end that way for Trey Zeigler, Amric Fields and Kyan Anderson,” coach Trent Johnson said. “They have given everything to this basketball program in a short period of time. Very committed. Never second-guessed. Never stopped working. Great ambassadors for their families, great ambassadors for this institution.”
Anderson had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. Zeigler had 14 points, five rebounds and an assist. Fields had eight points, five rebounds and two blocks.
But their efforts – plus 17 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block from sophomore Kenrich Williams – were no match for the No. 17 Cyclones (22-8, 12-6).
George Niang and Monte Morris each scored 19 points and had six assists, and Bryce DeJean-Jones and Jameel McKay had 15 and 14 points, respectively.
The Cyclones scored 63 points and produced four double-figure scorers in the second half alone.
TCU’s 32-26 halftime lead couldn’t hold up against a team that emerged from the locker room seemingly like a new team.
“And they can get hot so fast,” Fields said. “They all can shoot. They all can drive. They try to isolate you, and then when you help off somebody, they’ll kick it out for a 3 or dump it to McKay down low. They’re really good at what they do.”
The Frogs couldn’t help but admire it.
“They space the floor very well with Niang being able to handle the ball like he can with his size,” Zeigler said. “He creates a real mismatch for us. And when he’s isolated out there, and there are shooters all over the floor, you can’t help. It’s hard.”
Johnson called Iowa State a team “with six or seven guys that are very, very, very good basketball players” and an example of the strength of the Big 12. It is why Johnson believes the Horned Frogs are better than their record.
“Where we were the previous year, the previous two years, where we are right now in this league, I just struggle when people say TCU’s not very good,” he said. “Who the hell is that? That’s a joke when people say that. I’ll take this basketball team and this group of guys, and I’ll go anywhere. We’ve had a lot of success. Bottom line, if we’re not playing very well in whoever else’s eyes, and who hasn’t seen them every day like me, it’s because the people were’ playing are pretty good. So tip your hat to them. But that’s not the same as saying we’re not very good. That’s just reality.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407