The last week of the season held one more highlight for TCU — its first win in the Big 12 tournament. But that is all that came from the trip to Kansas City for the Horned Frogs.
They did not receive an NIT bid, and they decided not to accept a CBI invitation if offered.
“No. 1, the health of the kids,” coach Trent Johnson said, explaining the decision to end the season when no NIT bid came. “Kenrich Williams played the last month and a half hurt. These kids gave all they got. They’re spent. But they would have gone to the well again.”
Hoping their 1-1 showing in the conference tournament — including another competitive game against Kansas — would burnish their résumé just enough, the Frogs instead learned Sunday night that they did not make the 32-team field.
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The NIT picks from the teams that do not make the NCAA Tournament.
The College Basketball Invitational, which accepts 16 teams and starts Tuesday, offered one more chance to play. But schools must pay the tournament to participate, and not every institution accepts the invitation. South Carolina also said Sunday it would decline a bid after a 17-16 season.
The Frogs’ last game, then, turned out to be the 64-59 loss to Kansas in the Big 12 quarterfinals at the Sprint Center, a tightly contested game in front of a massive partisan crowd for the Jayhawks.
Senior guard Trey Zeigler scored 20 points, never leaving the court until he fouled out in the final minute. Senior point guard Kyan Anderson played just 24 minutes because of foul trouble and fouled out with three points, leaving him six shy of No. 5 on the school’s all-time scoring list.
“I’ll tell you what, if Kyan Anderson’s last memory, if Trey Zeigler’s last memory, if Amric Fields’ last memory of a basketball game is a loss versus one of the premier teams in this country in one of the most tradition-rich settings in the country, so be it,” Johnson said. “Because only a few players get to end their seasons on a win.”
TCU was 18-15, doubling its win total from a season ago when it went winless in the Big 12. This year, the Frogs were 4-14 in the league, sweeping Texas Tech and winning at their temporary home, Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, against Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
The Frogs lost overtime games against Baylor and West Virginia, and missed a long desperation shot at home to force overtime against Kansas.
The Horned Frogs were undefeated in nonconference, starting 13-0 this season.
“We had all our opportunities and didn’t get it done,” Johnson said. “Versus Baylor in overtime, versus OU, versus Kansas three times — we had a lot of games there where we could have gotten it done.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760