TCU men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon scanned the stats sheet after Thursday’s 85-82 upset of No. 1 Kansas in the Sprint Center. He noticed double-digit scoring contributions from five Horned Frogs, including reserve guards Desmond Bane and Brandon Parrish.
“I’m proud of them because it took everybody,” Dixon said, summing up the blueprint used in securing the Frogs’ first win over a nationally No.1-ranked team in program history. “It took the whole team.”
At the end, it took Bane making three free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining to allow the Horned Frogs (19-14) to advance to Friday’s semifinals of the Big 12 tournament against Iowa State.
Bane, who began the tournament averaging 6.8 points per game, scored 16 in 21 minutes off the bench against Kansas (28-4). Parrish, a senior from Arlington Seguin, added 12 points in 23 minutes off the bench. He began the tournament with a scoring average of 5.5 points.
I knew we were going to be in foul trouble. You’re always in foul trouble against Kansas. You’ve got to be prepared for that.
TCU coach Jamie Dixon on the importance of his bench against No. 1-ranked Kansas
Dixon anticipated that he would need more from his bench against Kansas for one simple reason.
“Foul trouble,” said Dixon, whose team persevered after guard Kenrich Williams (team-highs of 18 points and eight rebounds) fouled out with 3:12 remaining and Kansas ahead 78-76. “I knew we were going to be in foul trouble. You’re always in foul trouble against Kansas. You’ve got to be prepared for that.”
Parrish stepped up by making 4 of 7 shots from the field, including a couple of clutch 3-pointers, in a victory that he called “the high point of my whole career.”
Bane, a freshman who missed an open 3-pointer at the buzzer during the team’s 61-60 loss to No. 11 West Virginia on Feb. 25, handled the crunch-time spotlight much better in the Sprint Center.
He punctuated a 5-of-6 shooting performance from the field with his trio of game-winning free throws after being driven into the TCU bench by a lunging Kansas defender on a 3-point shot attempt. Dixon said Bane, who was playing high school basketball at this time last season in Richmond, Ind., has made significant strides since the start of the season.
“I worry about him at times with pressure, getting used to it,” Dixon said. “But he’s gotten better over time. He’s no longer a freshman. Desmond has played better and earned the minutes. He needs to play more. It makes us better. This was a big step. It’s just great to see.”
Bane said he was uplifted by teammates before his game-deciding free throws and relished the historic significance of Thursday’s win.
“They’re the No. 1 team in the country for a reason,” Bane said. “But we stuck together and found a way to make plays down the stretch to get it done.”
That included a couple of double-digit contributions off the bench from Bane and Parrish.
TCU’s victory over No. 1 Kansas marked only the second time in school history for the Horned Frogs to take down a top-5 opponent. The other: a 62-55 victory over No. 5 Kansas in Fort Worth on Feb. 6, 2013.
By knocking off the Jayhawks (28-4), TCU reached the semifinals of the Big 12 conference tournament for the first time in five seasons as a league member. The Frogs also improved their overall record to 4-4 at the event. TCU’s 85-point output against Kansas marked the team’s highest-scoring contest in any Big 12 tournament game, eclipsing the mark set in Wednesday’s 82-63 victory over Oklahoma.