A couple droughts are over for TCU. Finally.
The Frogs have won a Big 12 road game this season. And they’ve beat a ranked opponent in a true road game for the first time in 21 years.
TCU had its best offensive game in almost a month, and outlasted the Big 12’s top-scoring offense en route to a 92-83 victory over No. 17 Iowa State on Saturday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum. Earlier in the day, Iowa State had been picked as a four-seed in the NCAA Tournament by the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.
“It was a really important win for us,” TCU senior point guard Alex Robinson said. “We know we need to go on a run to improve our seeding in the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament.”
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TCU (17-6, 5-5 Big 12) snapped a five-game road losing streak in conference play. More impressive, the Frogs snapped a 49-game losing streak against ranked opponents in true road games.
The last — and only — time a TCU team knocked off a ranked opponent on the road was January 1998 at No. 24 Hawaii.
“I’m only to blame for the last three years and when I was a teenager,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said, smiling when asked about the 21-year drought.
“You can’t hold me to everything the last 30 years. But it’s about us. We’re new and we’re building and getting better and looking at today, not yesterday or 10 years ago.
“The bottom line is we beat a very good team in one of the most difficult places to play in the country with incredible fans, incredible atmosphere.”
Credit TCU true freshman guard Kendric Davis.
Davis had a breakout game with a career-high 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. He also had four assists to one turnover in a career-high 29 minutes.
“I knew I hadn’t been shooting the ball well, but I’d been getting good looks,” said Davis, who was 2-of-9 in the Frogs’ previous two games.
“I knew eventually they would fall. The same looks I got today I’ve been getting all season. Just being a freshman, trying to get the feel of the game, adjusting, the speed is way different coming straight from high school. I knew a lot of reps and the same shot I’ve been taken will eventually go in. They did tonight.”
TCU finished by making 53.2 percent of its shots from the field, including 63.3 percent in the second half, its best shooting night since the Big 12 opener against Baylor last month.
Junior guard Desmond Bane scored 17 points, all in the second-half on 6-of-7 shooting. Robinson and sophomore forward Kouat Noi each finished with 17 points as well.
TCU took control of the game early in the second half with an 18-4 run that put it up 54-36 with 15:32 left.
The Frogs led by as many as 19 in the second half, but the Cyclones (18-6, 7-4 Big 12) didn’t go away quietly. Iowa State pulled to within single digits with multiple times late.
The Cyclones had a 10-0 run to make it a 75-66 game with 3:26 left, but the Frogs answered with a putback dunk and three-point play by JD Miler.
Iowa State’s Nick Weiler-Babb, an Arlington Martin product, drained a 3-pointer to make it 83-74 with 1:33 left, but once again TCU answered. The Frogs made three of their next four free throws, and weren’t threatened the rest of the way.
“This league will humble you quick,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “We got humbled today.”
The first half provided plenty of drama in a classic Big 12 game.
Iowa State jumped out to a 13-4 lead as TCU got off to a sluggish start, making just 2 of its first 10 field goals. Dixon picked up his first technical foul of the season in that opening stretch, too.
Dixon had been barking at the officials early on, although felt it was a quick trigger.
“I didn’t get much money’s worth out of it,” Dixon said.
But maybe that is what sparked the Frogs.
They found their offensive stroke in a hurry after it. They went on a 27-4 run over a nine-plus minute stretch, including 10 points by Davis and eight points by Noi.
That gave TCU a 31-17 lead with 5:37 left, but Iowa State closed the gap to 36-29 by halftime.
It marked just the second time that Iowa State, which entered with a Big 12-leading 78.8 points a game, had been held to fewer than 30 points in the first half this season.
“A great win for us,” Dixon said. “I know it’s hard to believe 83 points and 92 for us, but we won on the defensive end.”
Next up for TCU is a Big Monday matchup against Kansas. Tip is set for 8 p.m. at Schollmaier Arena.