For a second consecutive game, TCU coach Trent Johnson saw what he wanted to see — tough, competitive defense.
But for a second consecutive game, it didn’t mean enough.
The Horned Frogs couldn’t make enough shots to support a defense that limited Kansas State to 38.1 percent shooting, falling 58-53 in their first Big 12 road game. After a 13-0 nonconference start, the TCU men are 0-2 in the Big 12.
“We defended,” Johnson said. “Anytime you can hold a team like this on their home floor to what — 38 percent? — they beat us on the glass. That’s the nature of this league. We’ve got to get over the hump. We’ve got to get over the hump.”
As they did against West Virginia in the conference opener last weekend, the Horned Frogs got pushed around in the second half and didn’t respond well enough.
“We got away from what we had been doing — playing together,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be tough for this group because this league is so tough and so competitive and so physical. You have to play outside of your comfort zone when things don’t go your way, but you’ve also got to keep your poise and play basketball.”
K-State (8-7, 1-1), the only Big 12 team without a winning record when the night started, scored the game’s first seven points. But TCU had a 17-12 rebounding edge by halftime, when the lead was down to three points.
“I thought we were in pretty good position, because we were real physical, winning the rebound advantage and getting shots,” Johnson said. “But second half, they took control and basically outworked us. That enabled them to get easy looks.”
Trey Zeigler scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half, keeping the Frogs close. But the Wildcats got seven points in a 4 1/2-minute stretch of the second half from Thomas Gipson, a senior from Cedar Hill, to go up 46-36.
That turned the game back in the Wildcats’ favor after TCU had made 6 of 7 shots, including a dunk from Zeigler, to come as close as 36-33. It was the closest TCU got after leading 8-7.
“It got physical, kids got tested. It’s all part of it,” Johnson said.
Marcus Foster led Kansas State with 23 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second half to make it 32-24.
No one heated up to match him for TCU. Leading scorer Kyan Anderson went 2-for-7 shooting, including 1 for 5 on 3-pointers.
“He had trouble getting going,” Zeigler said. “Other guys have to find a way to step up. Nobody really got going.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760