TCU defeats Oklahoma State on this last-second buzzer beater
That makes TCU’s opening game against Oklahoma State on Wednesday night difficult to predict. Maybe the Frogs come out with more energy and pull away like they did at Texas on Saturday.
Or maybe Oklahoma State gets hot from 3-point range and pulls off the upset similar to the previous meeting between the two schools in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Feb. 18.
“At the end of the day, no one expects us to win,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. “We’ll do what we’ve done -- try to play really hard, give maximum effort and try to enjoy the moment. This team has been through a lot this year.
“We’re going to try and play our best basketball Wednesday night.”
The Cowboys enter on a two-game winning streak with wins at Baylor and vs. West Virginia, and have been a tough matchup for the Frogs this season.
They won in Stillwater and almost rallied from a 13-point deficit to win the first meeting in Fort Worth. TCU escaped with a 70-68 victory, courtesy of some heroics by JD Miller at the buzzer.
For Oklahoma State, though, the stakes are most likely relegated to being a spoiler. It’s hard to see a team that went 12-19 overall and 5-13 in Big 12 making a run to the conference championship.
But it’s not impossible to see an early-round upset. After all, that’s what makes March Madness great.
“They shoot the 3 so well,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said of Oklahoma State. “When they’re making 3s, they can beat anybody.”
The Cowboys knocked down 11 3-pointers on the Frogs in the upset win in Stillwater, including six by Thomas Dziagwa. The 11 3-pointers were the second-most given up by TCU in a game this season (Baylor made 15 on Feb. 2 in Waco).
Oklahoma State led the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage this season at 37.6 percent, but TCU had the second-best 3-point defense, limiting opponents to 30.5 percent.
And the Frogs are coming off a game in which they held Texas to 4-for-19 from long range.
“We feel good about how we’re playing right now,” Dixon said. “We had a good game, played well the other day, so we’re going to build off that. I can say we’re as healthy as we’ve been with our seven guys and feel pretty good about our rotation. We’re ready to go.”
A win would put TCU at the 20-win mark and seemingly in solid position for a second straight NCAA Tournament berth. The program hasn’t made consecutive appearances since the 1952-53 season.
The 20-win mark means something, too, for a program that has posted three straight 20-win seasons just once before.
For Dixon, a 20-win season has become the norm. He’s reached it 14 times in his 16 seasons, and making No. 15 this season would put him in exclusive company of coaches who have had 20-plus win seasons in 15 of their first 16 seasons as head coach -- Mark Few, Jim Boeheim and Bruce Pearl.
But Dixon is only focused on getting his team ready for this game. This has a chance to be a season-defining game, rightly or wrongly, for TCU.
Dixon had the slightest concern about a possible short turnaround to face top-seeded Kansas State on Thursday should TCU take care of business against Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
“We’re going to go in and try to do everything we can [to beat Oklahoma State],” Dixon said. “We’re not going to hold back anything.”