If TCU is judging games by whether it had a chance to win them, you can’t blame the Frogs.
Despite Saturday’s 83-66 loss at No. 15 Iowa State, the Horned Frogs are still way ahead in that department than they were their first two years in the Big 12.
“Again, it’s frustrating for us. This is a word I’ve used a lot in the last couple of weeks,” coach Trent Johnson said. “But bottom line, this is the second league game where we didn’t have an opportunity down the stretch.”
The Frogs trailed 35-33 at halftime, but were outscored by 15 in the second half and outrebounded by seven. Iowa State (16-4, 6-2) hit five of its first seven shots in the second half, took a 45-35 lead, and kept its distance from the Frogs, who were coming off last-possession losses to West Virginia and Kansas.
Iowa State and Texas are the only games this year that have been out of reach for TCU in the last five minutes.
“We had an opportunity there to start the second half,” Johnson said. “I thought we did a good job of executing in the half-court, and we didn’t finish. We didn’t finish some plays around the rim. We didn’t finish some open jump shots, and versus a team like this, that puts you in a bad spot, especially on the road.”
TCU (14-7, 1-7) got 14 points from senior guard Trey Zeigler, 11 from sophomore forward Chris Washburn and 11 off the bench from sophomore forward Brandon Parrish.
But senior guard Kyan Anderson had only 8 points, going 3-for-13 as drive after drive into the lane for both him and Zeigler came up empty. Their shots danced off the rim or were blocked. Anderson didn’t get a foul attempt, and Zeigler only one.
“Where we’re at right now, I feel like most of the teams in this league, their best players get those calls,” Zeigler said. “We don’t right now. It is what it is. We’re just going to keep going, keep being aggressive. That’s what Coach tells us — keep being aggressive, and hopefully we will finish them.”
But that wasn’t the only reason the offense didn’t click for the Frogs. Zeigler said some of the blame is their own.
“I think we just get stagnant — a lot of watching, a lot of ball-watching,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to stay with the same page, getting guys shots. Kyan and I have to be able to get guys shots within our offense, and guys have to step up and make shots. Of course, we didn’t get all the calls we wanted, but that’s going to happen on the road.”
Johnson wasn’t discouraged. He saw his team taking good shots, and that’s what he wants.
“With our team, with any team, these kids aren’t trying to miss shots,” he said. “I always tell them, you can take a good shot in rhythm, it’s not always going to go in. We’re running good offense, we’re doing good things — sometimes the ball just doesn’t go down.”
The Cyclones, meanwhile, proved way more proficient around the basket. They scored 46 points in the paint and shot 56.4 percent for the game. Georges Niang had 23 points and eight rebounds, and the Cyclones finished with a 44-30 rebounding edge.
“Zeigler is a really good player; we played against him when he was at Central Michigan,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Great offensive rebounder. Same with Kenrich Williams. Williams had three offensive rebounds, Zeigler didn’t have any. That was a big part of winning the game for us.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760