K-State Comes Up Short to TCU, 67-65

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - TCU held off a late Kansas State rally to post a 67-65 win in the opening game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Wednesday in front of 18,972 at the Sprint Center.

K-State (15-17, 8-10 Big 12) rallied from a 12-point deficit with 6:38 remaining to close to within 64-62 on a 3-point play from senior Nino Williams at the 1:58 mark. However, a blocked shot by sophomore Kenrich Williams and turnover by Williams in the final minute ended any hopes of a complete comeback, as TCU (18-14, 4-14 Big 12) closed it out from the free throw line.

Senior Thomas Gipson led the way for the Wildcats with a game-tying 16 points on 6-of-10 field goals, while Williams collected his fourth career double-double - third this season - with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Sophomore Wesley Iwundu and freshman Malek Harris each added 10 points.

Senior Kyan Anderson and sophomore Chris Washburn led a balanced effort for the Horned Frogs who advance to play top-seeded Kansas in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The Basics
Final Score: TCU 67, Kansas State 65
Records: Kansas State (15-17, 8-10 Big 12); TCU (18-14, 4-14 Big 12)
Attendance: 18,972 (paid)

The Short Story
• TCU used a 10-0 run midway through the first half to take control of the game and hold off a late charge from Kansas State to post a win in the opening game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
• The Horned Frogs led for over 30 minutes, including the entire second half.
• TCU connected on 47.4 percent (27-of-57) from the field, including 51.7 percent (15-of-29) in the first half. The squad also scored 21 second-chance points on 15 offensive rebounds.
• K-State connected on 39.7 percent (23-of-58), including just 33.3 percent (11-of-33) in the second half.

How It Happened | First Half
• The two teams went back and forth in the early going before K-State took a 16-12 after a jumper by Stephen Hurt at the 11:45 mark of the first half.
• A jumper by Chris Washburn ignited a 10-0 run that gave TCU a 22-16 lead with 8:05 remaining.
• After Nigel Johnson knocked down a pair of free throws, the Horned Frogs pushed the lead to double figures at 28-18 with jumper by Karviar Shepherd at 5:44 mark.
• The lead ballooned to as many as 12 after a Trey Zeigler dunk to make it 33-21 with 3:20 to play.
• The Wildcats cut into the lead with a 6-0 run to close the gap to 33-27 with 1:45 before halftime.
• However, K-State could get no closer, as a Zeigler jumper would be the only points the rest of the half, as TCU took a 35-27 advantage into halftime.
• Both teams shot remarkable well in the first half, as the Horned Frogs connected on 51.7 percent (15-of-29), while the Wildcats were at 48 percent (12-of-25).
• Zeigler led all scorers with 10 points for TCU, while Gipson and M. Harris each had 6 points.

How It Happened | Second Half
• The Horned Frogs pushed the lead back to double-digits at 10 twice early in the second half, including 39-29 at the 18:42 mark after a pair of free throws by Anderson.
• The Wildcats closed the deficit to 41-39 with a 10-2 after a lay-up by Jevon Thomas with 16:12 to play.
• TCU answered with a 6-1 run to push it back out to 47-40 on back-to-back field goals by Amric Fields, including a lay-up with 11:38 to play.
• After a 4-0 spurt again closed it to within striking distance, Anderson answered with a long 3-pointer that keyed a 7-0 run that gave the Horned Frogs a 54-44 lead with 7:54 remaining.
• The Wildcats were able to cut the deficit down the stretch to 61-58 with a pair of free throws by Wesley Iwundu with 2:58 to play.
• After TCU pulled back ahead 64-59 after a free throw by Fields with 2:10 left, K-State made one last push, as Williams completed a 3-point play to close the gap to 64-62.
• However, that would be the closest that it would get, as Zeigler hit a pair of free throws with 32 seconds to ice the game at 66-62.
• Iwundu hit a 3-pointer - the Wildcats' lone make of the game - at the buzzer for the final margin.

Beyond the Boxscore
• K-State falls to 31-37 all-time at the Big Eight/12 Championship dating back to 1977, including an 11-19 mark in the 18-year history of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
• K-State falls to 30-32 all-time when the championship is held in Kansas City, including 4-7 in Sprint Center.
• K-State falls to 1-5 as an 8-seed at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.
• K-State is now 11-10 all-time in the Sprint Center, including 1-1 this season.
• K-State still leads the all-time series with TCU, 8-4, including 5-2 in Big 12 era... The Wildcats are 0-3 all-time against the Horned Frogs in the postseason (NCAA Tournament, NIT and Big 12 Championship).
• 22 of K-State's 32 games were decided by 10 points or less, including 13 by 5 points or less... The Wildcats finished 12-10 in games decided by 10 points or less and 6-7 in those decided by 5 points or less.

Quotable
• "Our guys didn't quit. I think the game was kind of a microcosm of our whole season, a bunch of ups and downs and all arounds, but to the kids' credit, they battled and battled and we gave ourselves a chance. In hindsight, I should have probably got a time out when we got it to 2 and had the ball out of bounds and I didn't do it. That was our one opportunity maybe to grab it. I thought Thomas gave a great effort, Nino gave a great effort, Wesley gave a great effort. I thought Jevon really competed. Malek gave us some good minutes, one of his better games when we had a lot of foul trouble. But TCU, they made enough plays when it counted down the stretch. It was similar to the game at Ft. Worth where they went on a nice run before the end of the first half and luckily we stopped the run this time and kept it at 8 and we gave ourselves a chance. Our guys fought vibrantly, like they did all year, and it's disappointing. You want to keep playing and you want to keep coaching, but you have to help the guys and move forward and that's all you can do," said head coach Bruce Weber.