TCU coach Jamie Dixon felt his team should have won the game. So did guards Alex Robinson and Desmond Bane.
“This one is on us,” Robinson said. “I feel like we lost it more than they won it.”
Yes, there is no consolation for a Frogs team that hung with No. 14 Kansas and had its chances to win it down the stretch. Instead, TCU didn’t get it done in an 82-77 overtime loss on a night that seemingly had everything going the Frogs’ way.
The Frogs were coming off their first road win over a ranked team in 21 years. The TCU faithful showed up and packed Schollmaier Arena for ESPN’s “Big Monday,” the fourth-largest home crowd in school history with 7,356. Heck, even Las Vegas oddsmakers pegged TCU as the favorites to win consecutive games over ranked teams for the first time in program history.
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But it wasn’t meant to be.
“It is what it is,” said Bane, who had a team-high 18 points. “I’m really proud of our guys for battling back, being down like that in the second half says a lot about our guys.
“That was a game that we should’ve won and a game that we … should’ve won.”
TCU (17-7, 5-6 Big 12) lost its first Big 12 game at home, while Kansas (19-6, 8-4 Big 12) snapped a four-game losing streak on the road. The Jayhawks entered just 1-6 on the road this season.
KU was led by guards Devon Dotson, who had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Ochai Agbaji, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds. Big man Dedric Lawson, who scored 31 points in the first meeting, fouled out after posting a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Kansas found enough ways to score late and TCU didn’t.
TCU didn’t score the final 2:07 of regulation and the first 2:34 of overtime. The Frogs were just 1-for-7 from the field in overtime.
They had a chance at the end of regulation, too, but couldn’t get a clean look when they took over with 25 seconds left. In fact, TCU didn’t get a shot up by the buzzer and, even if so, Kendric Davis’ shot fell short.
“A play that’s been working for us didn’t work,” Dixon said. “I tried to call a timeout late. I can’t call it.”
Dixon was more disappointed about the execution on the defensive end that allowed Kansas to erase a four-point deficit with just over a minute remaining.
The Jayhawks pulled to within two on a layup by Dedric Lawson and tied it off a turnover by Davis that set up a layup by K.J. Lawson.
“We can’t give up layups,” Dixon said. “We could’ve executed better down the stretch.”
But TCU simply being in position to win didn’t seem likely midway through the second half.
Kansas led by as many as 12 with 9:03 left and had a 65-56 lead with 4:51 left. Instead of going away, though, TCU went on a run.
TCU erased the deficit with a 13-0 run started by a pair of free throws by Davis and a layup by Davis. Davis forced a turnover during the stretch, too, setting up Robinson on a fast-break layup to cut KU’s lead to 65-64.
Robinson drained a 3-pointer on the next possession to give TCU its first lead 67-65 of the second half.
“I feel like the momentum was in our favor,” Robinson said of the 3-point shot at the time. “And we were playing really good defense at the time. I felt like if we just stayed consistent within those two minutes and limited those possessions, we would come out on top.”
JD Miller joined the 1,000-point club with a pair of free throws to cap the 13-0 run, and made it a 69-65 lead with 2:08 left.
But, as stated, TCU went through a scoring drought the rest of regulation and KU got a pair of layups to force overtime.
Overtime wasn’t pretty, but KU ended up prevailing at the free-throw line. With the game tied at 74-74 with 1:28 left, TCU made just 3-of-6 free throws compared to KU being a perfect 6-for-6 in those final seconds.
Kansas coach Bill Self had nothing but good things to say about TCU and where it’s at as a program under Dixon.
“TCU is right there on the cusp of being where it wants to be,” Self said. “All it is is a break here or there. Their talent level is greatly improved. And they’re being coached by one of the best in the business.
“As long as Jamie is here, they’re not going to take a step backward.”
That wasn’t music to Dixon’s ears. After all, he’s building a program that is expected to win those types of games on Monday. Not simply make them competitive.
“I feel like we should’ve won the game, we didn’t,” Dixon said. “We’re disappointed and there’s no other way of looking at it. We had the lead. We had opportunities and we didn’t [close]. Big play, we’ve got to finish it. We’ve got to get the charge. We’ve got to get the rebound. We’ve got to make the free throw.
“But we’ll be ready to go on Saturday [against Oklahoma].”