TCU

Short-handed TCU fades out of Big 12 tournament with loss to West Virginia

TCU forward JD Miller goes up for a shot against West Virginia’s Jonathan Holton and Elijah Macon during first-half action Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament. Miller, a freshman from Seagoville, finished with 12 points and eight rebounds in the Horned Frogs’ 86-66 loss.
TCU forward JD Miller goes up for a shot against West Virginia’s Jonathan Holton and Elijah Macon during first-half action Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament. Miller, a freshman from Seagoville, finished with 12 points and eight rebounds in the Horned Frogs’ 86-66 loss. AP

TCU didn’t have enough for West Virginia.

It’s hard to describe the Horned Frogs’ 86-66 loss on Thursday in the Big 12 tournament any other way.

In fact, it’s exactly how they described it.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t deep enough,” sophomore guard Chauncey Collins said. “They had bodies. Us, due to injuries and other things, we just didn’t have as many bodies as them. So we wore down.”

Freshman forward JD Miller said the same.

“We had injuries and people down — we couldn’t really, we didn’t have depth on our bench,” he said. “So we were really tired out there.”

TCU shot 35.2 percent compared with West Virginia’s 55.6 and was outrebounded 36-32.

That couldn’t have been much of a surprise. The Frogs, with only nine players in uniform, were playing less than 24 hours after upsetting possible NCAA Tournament qualifier Texas Tech on Wednesday.

And when second-seeded West Virginia (25-7) made its first four 3-point shots and grabbed a 20-8 lead on Jonathan Holton’s dunk at the 13:20 mark, it wasn’t hard to tell where the game was going.

“For this season, it’s nothing that we weren’t used to,” Collins said of the early hole.

TCU’s season ended at 12-21, six games worse than a year ago when they were 18-15 and won a Big 12 tournament game for the first time.

West Virginia got points from nine players and rebounds from 10, including a double-double (18 and 13) from center Devin Williams.

We made a decision going into this thing that we would have to play predominantly zone. Obviously, with our limited bodies, we couldn’t chase them around in man.

TCU coach Trent Johnson

“They wore us down,” coach Trent Johnson said. “I thought their multiple pressure caused us to make some ill-advised decisions. ... I couldn’t fault our effort. I thought we competed really well.

“They really shot the living heck out of it in the zone. We made a decision going into this thing that we would have to play predominantly zone. Obviously, with our limited bodies, we couldn’t chase them around in man.”

Collins scored 18 points for TCU, Malique Trent had 15, Miller 12 and Vladimir Brodziansky 11. The four underclassmen combined for 56 of the Frogs’ 66 points.

After 10 turnovers in the first half, TCU had only four in the second. And the game was competitive when it was half-court versus half-court.

But after Daxter Miles Jr.’s 3-pointer — West Virginia’s 11th of the game on 24 attempts — made it 72-59 with 6:37 left, TCU did not get back within 10 points of the lead.

92Points combined for underclassmen Chauncey Collins, Malique Trent, Vladimir Brodziansky and JD Miller for TCU in the two games at the Big 12 tournament, 69.2 percent of the scoring.

“To beat this team, you have to have four or five guys who can really handle the ball, a mobile post or a stretch forward who can handle the ball,” Johnson said.

TCU didn’t have that. At least not in uniform.

“Their pressure is amazing,” Collins said. “Like I said, they did wear me down. I had to put the ball in other people’s hands, and we had to step up and make plays. And we didn’t make enough.”

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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