Trailing by double digits in the second half, No. 1 Kansas rallied but blew a late lead as TCU pulled off the upset, 85-82, on Thursday afternoon in a stunning upset in the Big 12 Tournament.
With the game tied, Horned Frogs freshman Desmond Bane was fouled by Svi Mykhailiuk while shooting a corner three-pointer with 2.5 seconds left and buried all three free throws to clinch the win for the Horned Frogs. Kansas junior Devonte Graham missed a tying three-point attempt at the buzzer after a length-of-the-floor pass on the ensuing Jayhawk possession.
Playing without freshman star Josh Jackson (one-game suspension for violation of team rules), the Jayhawks struggled to find their footing until the final stretch of the second half. After taking the lead in the final few minutes, Kansas blew a four-point lead with the ball with under two minutes left as the Horned Frogs never blinked when they were down.
TCU (19-14) was led by Kenrich Williams with 18 points as they had a balanced effort with five double-figure scorers. This is the Horned Frogs’ first ever win in a Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal game. Bane added 16 points for TCU while Alex Robinson (13 points), Brandon Parrish (12 points) and Vladimir Brodziansky (11 points) also finished in double-figures.
Senior Frank Mason helped Kansas (28-4) come back with 29 points and six assists while Svi Mykhailiuk had 18 points. Playing through a leg injury that was suffered in the first half, Devonte Graham finished with 10 points while senior Landen Lucas had a good game on the interior with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
TCU moves on to face No. 4 seed Iowa State as their NCAA tournament stock becomes something to keep an eye on since they just beat a potential No. 1 seed. It’s likely a bit too late for the Horned Frogs to make a move on an at-large bid after a seven-game Big 12 losing streak late in the season but this win is one of the best any team will have all season. For a team that has lost so many close games during Big 12 play, this was a monumental win for head coach Jamie Dixon in his first season.
It’s hard to say if this win can catapult TCU into the NCAA tournament this year but it is the kind of statement win the program was looking for when they brought in Dixon. This win shows that TCU can hang with the baddest team in the Big 12 in postseason play and this young roster will remember that in future seasons.
Kansas was a legitimate contender for No. 1 overall seed until this loss. We’ll have to see what the committee decides to do with them from here. Obviously, having Jackson back will help quite a bit on both ends of the floor.
Don’t freak out over this loss; Kansas is still a national title contender and they can still have a No. 1 seed depending on how some other things play out. But this loss is still concerning because the Jayhawks blew a four-point lead with the ball with 1:40 left because of turnovers on back-to-back possessions. The Jayhawks have usually closed out games this season but this kind of letdown is very concerning heading into the tournament.
We know the Jayhawks are going to be tested in close games during March and we’ll have to see how they respond after this surprising loss.