TCU loses grip against OU at end of first half, falls again

Trey Zeigler, right, and TCU struggled offensively agaisnt Isaiah Cousins and Oklahoma.
Trey Zeigler, right, and TCU struggled offensively agaisnt Isaiah Cousins and Oklahoma. Special to the S-T

It happened again to TCU.

Something bad — in this case a 10-0 run by No. 21 Oklahoma to finish the first half in what became a 68-56 victory against the Horned Frogs on Saturday at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.

And when something bad has happened to the Frogs this season, it has typically meant a bad result.

“Right now, make no mistake about it, we’re fragile from a confidence standpoint,” coach Trent Johnson said. “When teams make runs on us and we’re down 6 or 7, we have a tendency to give in.”

TCU built a 28-21 lead on Brandon Parrish’s 3-pointer, Amric Fields’ 3-pointer and Chris Washburn’s layup with four minutes left. But Oklahoma (16-7, 7-4) scored 10 points over the final 2:44 of the half.

Johnson knew what had happened and what was going to happen.

“We talked, I talked about finishing the half, that they’re good — they’re going to make a run,” Johnson said. “We had a couple of bad turnovers, missed a couple shots, and a team like that, that’s so skilled, we were behind the 8-ball.”

TCU (14-9, 1-9) did not lead again. Kenrich Williams’ putback off a missed 3-pointer got the Frogs within 33-30, but OU scored seven straight and had little trouble the rest of the way.

It was a precious lead to lose. The Frogs built it despite missing their first 13 shots, rallying from a 9-0 deficit.

They outscored OU 28-12 from the 15:20 mark to the four-minute mark in perhaps their best stretch of basketball in league play.

“I expected a really tough game. TCU’s played everyone tough,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “Our guys knew that. They had a great deal of respect, and TCU made a great run in the first half.”

But then it was over. At halftime, none of the juice from that 11-minute stretch remained on the TCU side of the gym.

“The run before the half, I guess it just hurt us,” said Williams, who finished with 10 points and eight offensive rebounds. “We’ve just got to learn how to finish games. We’ve just got to stay the course and keep playing hard like we’ve been doing.”

The Horned Frogs missed 50 shots, going 23 for 73, and they struggled again at the foul line, going 5 for 12.

OU put up a season-high 11 blocks, including four by 6-foot-8 Ryan Spangler, and the Frogs didn’t have an answer outside, either.

Williams was the only player in double-figure scoring for TCU. He was the only player who made more than three shots for the Horned Frogs.

“You know, 23 for 73 is what it is,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to make open shots. We’ve got to make free throws. I constantly talk about and believe that we all have a responsibility. As coaches, your responsibility is to make sure guys are in positions to get open shots. As players, your responsibility is to knock them down. This afternoon, there were a lot of guys that were open. They’ve got to shoot the thing with confidence, and we’ve got to score.”

Or else it will happen again.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @calexmendez

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