TCU king of the hill: Frogs blow out Georgia Tech for NIT title in New York

TCU's Parrish discusses NIT title, program's future

An emotional Brandon Parrish weighs in on TCU's NIT title. Video by Jimmy Burch
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An emotional Brandon Parrish weighs in on TCU's NIT title. Video by Jimmy Burch

TCU’s turnaround men’s basketball season filled with program milestones added its most memorable memento Thursday night in Madison Square Garden: an NIT championship trophy soon to be on permanent display in Schollmaier Arena.

The Horned Frogs knocked off Georgia Tech 88-56 to add the final prize to a breakthrough season under first-year coach Jamie Dixon.

TCU (24-15) secured the first postseason tournament title in school history behind the efforts of forward Vladimir Brodziansky (18 points, six rebounds) and guard Kenrich Williams, who contributed his 19th double-double of the season (25 points, 12 rebounds).

The victory allowed TCU to double its win total over last year’s 12-21 campaign and secured a storybook conclusion to the college careers of four seniors whose roots to the program trace back to the Frogs’ 0-18 record against Big 12 opponents during conference play in the 2013-14 season.

Under Dixon, a former TCU player who took the job last March after 13 seasons at Pittsburgh, the Horned Frogs have broken through multiple program glass ceilings. TCU secured its first 20-win season in 12 years and its first victory over the nation’s top-ranked team, an 85-82 triumph over then-No. 1 Kansas in the Big 12 tournament on March 9.

But the final bow came Thursday in New York, with the Frogs seizing control from the outset to secure an NIT title that capped TCU’s most successful season in the Big 12 era. Only once in school history, when the Frogs won 27 games in 1997-98 under former coach Billy Tubbs, has TCU won more than the 24 games it won this season under Dixon.

TCU made that happen Thursday by racing to a 16-1 lead in the first five minutes before Ben Lammers made Georgia Tech’s first field goal at the 14:56 mark. The Frogs never trailed while building multiple double-digit leads on the way to the title. Point guard Alex Robinson also added a double-double to the festivities with 10 points and 11 assists.

TCU’s first 20-point lead came at the 6:47 mark on Williams’ steal and breakaway dunk to make it 69-49. TCU eventually built the lead to 30 on Desmond Bane’s layup to make it 79-49 with 2:23 to play. Both baskets were part of a 19-0 run by the Frogs to add an exclamation point to the second-half proceedings. The 32-point final margin was TCU’s biggest of the night.

After Tech missed its first six shots from the field, the Yellow Jackets began finding the range and cut the gap to six points 21-15 with a 10-0 surge.

TCU’s J.D. Miller answered that run at the 6:55 mark with a three-point play, followed by a Robinson layup, to recapture the Frogs’ double-digit cushion.

They would keep it, with rare exception, the rest of the night on an evening when TCU won the battle of the boards, 44-30, on the way to winning an NIT title.

TCU guard Kenrich Williams discusses how "huge" an NIT title is to a TCU program that won only 12 games last season. Video by Jimmy Burch

TCU forward Karviar Shepherd, one of the Frogs' four seniors, helps cut down the net in New York in celebration of the team's NIT title. Video by Jimmy Burch


GEORGIA TECH (21-16): Stephens 2-8 0-2 5, Lammers 1-11 6-6 8, Heath 0-1 0-0 0, Heyward 1-3 0-0 3, Okogie 4-12 3-5 12, Rowland 0-0 0-0 0, McCormick 1-1 0-0 3, Ogbonda 3-3 0-2 6, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Jackson 8-14 1-2 19, Medlock 0-0 0-0 0, Price 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 10-17 56.

TCU (24-15): Miller 4-11 1-1 9, Brodziansky 8-15 2-2 18, K.Williams 8-14 7-8 25, Bane 4-7 0-0 9, Robinson 4-10 2-3 10, Washburn 0-0 1-2 1, Sottile 0-1 0-0 0, Shepherd 2-3 0-0 4, Dry 1-1 0-0 3, J.Parrish 1-1 0-0 2, B.Parrish 2-2 0-0 4, M.Williams 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 35-68 13-16 88.

Halftime—TCU 38-27. 3-Point Goals—Georgia Tech 6-13 (Jackson 2-3, McCormick 1-1, Okogie 1-1, Heyward 1-3, Stephens 1-5), TCU 5-15 (K.Williams 2-5, Dry 1-1, Bane 1-2, M.Williams 1-3, Miller 0-2, Robinson 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Georgia Tech 26 (Lammers 7), TCU 37 (K.Williams 12). Assists—Georgia Tech 12 (Heath 4), TCU 17 (Robinson 11). Total Fouls—Georgia Tech 17, TCU 16.

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