Jamie Squire/Getty Images

No. 20 TCU extends win streak to 13 with 94-83 win over SMU

Leave a comment

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kenrich Williams had 27 points to lead five TCU players in double figures, and got tackled after a steal and breakaway toward the basket as the 20th-ranked Horned Frogs extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 14 games with a 94-83 victory over SMU on Tuesday night.

The Frogs (9-0) were already starting to separate themselves midway through the second half when Williams came up with an SMU turnover. The 6-foot-7 guard was going the other way when Ben Emelogu caught up from behind and essentially dragged him to the court.

After the flagrant foul, Williams made one free throw and TCU kept possession. After several passes, Desmond Bane hit a 3-pointer from the left wing in front of the Frogs’ bench that put them up 67-56.

SMU (7-3) was coming off a 17-point home win over then-No.14 Southern Cal just three days earlier.

The Mustangs played at TCU, only about 40 miles from their Dallas campus, for the first time in four seasons.

Kouat Noi had 16 points for TCU, Bane had 14, Jaylen Fisher 11 and Ahmed Hamdy 10. Fisher had nine assists.

Williams, who was 7-of-8 shooting with five 3s, just missed his fifth straight double-double, finishing with nine rebounds. He also had five assists.

Ethan Chargois led five SMU players in double figures with 21 points, while Jarrey Foster had 19. Shake Milton had 18 points, but was only 1-of-7 from 3-point range, while Jimmy Whitt had 12 points before fouling out and Emelogu had 10.

TCU led for good after Fisher fed Williams for a 3-pointer with 14 1/2 minutes left to snap a 47-all tie.

Williams hit two 3-pointers to start the game and an opening 8-2 run for TCU. He had five quick points (a layup and 3-pointer) after SMU got within 10-9.

Vlad Brodziansky’s 3-pointer put TCU up 23-16 midway through the first half before Milton scored eight for the Mustangs in a 13-2 spurt that put them ahead.

Williams then had two free throws before consecutive 3s by Noi put TCU back in front.

BIG PICTURE

SMU: Even though the Mustangs shot 52 percent overall (30 of 55), they struggled on 3-pointers by making only 6 of 21 from long range.

TCU: The Frogs keep sharing the basketball. They entered the game ranked fourth nationally with 20 assists per game, and then had 21 assists on 26 field goals. TCU, with its highest ranking since 1998, scored at least 83 points for the fourth straight game and seventh time this season. The defending NIT champs are 24-2 in non-conference games under second-year Jamie Dixon.

UP NEXT

SMU will have an extended break during exams before playing New Orleans on Dec. 13. That will start a five-game home stand at Moody Coliseum, where the Mustangs have a 28-game winning streak.

TCU plays No. 22 Nevada on Friday night in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at Staples Center. It will be the first time Dixon, a North Hollywood native, coaches a game in Los Angeles. His parents still live in the home he grew up in, and his sister is an attorney for Los Angeles County.

___

For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

No. 23 TCU beats Belmont 87-76 in return to AP rankings

Getty Images
Leave a comment

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Vladimir Brodziansky scored 22 points and No. 23 TCU extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 12 games with an 87-76 victory against Belmont on Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-11 senior from Slovakia was 5 of 6 from 3-point range and 8 of 11 overall in TCU’s first game since returning to The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in almost three years. The Frogs, who were in the poll for a week at No. 25 in 2014, have their highest ranking since they were 21st in January 1999.

JD Miller had 16 points and eight rebounds for TCU, which won its last five games last season on the way to the NIT championship and is off to a 7-0 start for the third time in four seasons.

Kenrich Williams had his third straight double-double and fourth of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Frogs outrebounded the Bruins 37-23. The NIT MVP led the Big 12 with 19 double-doubles last season, including all five NIT games.

Dylan Windler scored 17 points and Kevin McClain and Amanze Egekeze had 15 apiece in a third straight loss for Belmont (4-4).

Alex Robinson had a four-point play after getting fouled on a 3-pointer and Brodziansky and Jalen Fisher each had three-point plays following layups during a 15-0 run that put the Horned Frogs up 36-16 in the first half.

THE TAKEAWAY

Belmont: It was another competitive loss for the Bruins against a Power Five opponent. They lost by four points at Washington in the opener before beating Vanderbilt by nine at home. Prospects look good for Belmont’s eighth NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006, and first since 2015.

TCU: The Horned Frogs have had a hard time pulling away from opponents that appear to be outmatched, an issue that goes back to the opener against Louisiana-Monroe. The Bruins were within seven points in the final 2 minutes.

UP NEXT

Belmont: Green Bay at home Saturday.

TCU: Yale at home Saturday.

___

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

TCU stuns No. 1 Kansas in Big 12 Tournament

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
4 Comments

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.

No. 9 West Virginia rolls to 86-66 win over TCU in Big 12s

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
1 Comment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Devin Williams had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead a balanced West Virginia attack, and the ninth-ranked Mountaineers never trailed in an 86-66 victory over TCU in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament Thursday night.

The plucky Horned Frogs gave them a tussle most of the way, though.

They trailed just 63-55 midway through the second half before a spree of 3-pointers allowed the second-seeded Mountaineers (25-7) to seize control. They pulled away in the final minutes to give coach Bob Huggins his first victory in the Big 12 Tournament since taking over his alma mater.

Jevon Carter added 15 points, Tarik Phillip had 13 and Jaysean Paige scored 12 as West Virginia moved on to the semifinals Friday against the winner of No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 21 Iowa State.

Chauncey Collins had 18 points to lead the No. 10 seed Horned Frogs (12-21), who bumped off NCAA Tournament bubble team Texas Tech in the opening round. Malique Trent added 15 points and J.D. Miller had 12.

The game amounted to a contrast in styles: West Virginia tried to play fast, TCU tried to play slow.

Early on, it was the Mountaineers who had the most success. They got hot from beyond the arc, racing to a 20-8 lead, and used all those made shots to slap on their exasperating pressure defense.

TCU did a solid job most of the game of breaking it.

The Mountaineers eventually fell into an offensive lull, and that allowed coach Trent Johnson’s team to claw back into the game. The Horned Frogs got within 29-23 late in the first half, then cut the lead to single digits again on a dunk by Miller that made it 56-47 with 14 1/2 minutes left in the game.

It took the Mountaineers heating up from the arc again to pull away.

It was 63-55 when Daxter Miles Jr. connected from right in front of West Virginia’s bench. Paige knocked down his second of the game moments later, and Miles buried another to make it 72-59 with 6:34 to go.

The Mountaineers drew away from there to wrap up their fifth consecutive win.

TIP-INS

TCU: Brandon Parrish was held to two points on 0-for-5 shooting. … Johnson fell to 0-9 in his career against West Virginia. … The Horned Frogs shot just 35 percent from the field.

West Virginia: Huggins improved to 12-0 against the Horned Frogs. … The Mountaineers finished 11 of 24 from beyond the arc. … Won despite committing 17 turnovers.

UP NEXT

TCU begins preparing for next season.

Ellis double-double for No. 7 Kansas in 75-56 win at TCU

AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi
Leave a comment

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Perry Ellis had 23 points and 10 rebounds as No. 7 Kansas started the second half of the Big 12 Conference schedule with a 75-56 victory at TCU on Saturday.

Kansas (19-4, 7-3 Big 12), which had lost its previous three conference road games, never trailed after scoring the game’s first seven points.

With the quick start and in a road arena about half-filled with their own fans, the Jayhawks rebounded from an underwhelming victory three days earlier against Kansas State. They also won for the 12th time in 13 games against TCU, which exactly three years earlier got its only win in the series.

Devonte Graham added 15 points and Frank Mason III 12 for the Jayhawks, who shot 50 percent from the field (29 of 58) and had a 46-25 rebounding advantage. Ellis was 11-of-14 shooting.

Brandon Parrish and JD Miller had 13 points each for TCU (10-13, 1-9), whose only win in its last eight games was last weekend at home when overcoming a 14-point halftime lead for a 75-63 victory over Tennessee in the Big 12-SEC Challenge. Chauncey Collins had 10 points.

The Frogs shot 29 percent (14 of 49).

Ellis had a three-point play after a wild scramble to get the ball to put the Jayhawks up 34-14, giving them a 20-point lead for the first time. His tip-in with 2:31 left made it 38-14 before TCU scored the last six points of the first half.

Kansas also had its first double-digit lead after consecutive baskets by Ellis, when he was on the receiving end of an alley-oop pass from Wayne Selden Jr. for a dunk and then had a strong layup to make it 21-11.

After the Jayhawks’ 77-59 victory over Kansas State on Wednesday night, coach Bill Self said his team had been outplayed and was “about as soft as I can remember one of our teams playing.”

The closest the Frogs got after Kansas’ 7-0 spurt in the first 2 minutes was at 10-7 after Parrish made a long jumper, then followed a Jayhawks turnover with a nifty spin move for a layup off the glass.

TIP-INS

Kansas: It was Ellis’ third double-double this season, all in Big 12 games, and 15th of his career. … The Jayhawks have won by at least 10 points in 13 of their 19 wins. …. Kansas played the first of four times on the road in a six-game span.

TCU: When the Frogs upset Kansas 62-55 in 2013, it was their first Big 12 win – coming in their first season after joining the conference. TCU is now 7-57 in Big 12 games. … TCU had as many turnovers (6) as field goals in the first half.

UP NEXT

Kansas: Hosts No. 14 West Virginia on Tuesday night.

TCU: Hosts Oklahoma State on Monday night.

BIG 12 CONFERENCE RESET: Is this the year that Kansas gets picked off?

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
3 Comments

College basketball’s non-conference season is coming to a close, and to help you shake off post-holiday haze and the hangover of losing in your fantasy football playoffs, we’ll be providing you with some midseason primers to get you caught up on all the nation’s most important conferences.

Today, we’re taking a look at the Big 12.

BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

A serious threat for National Player of the Year, Hield is playing magnificent basketball in his senior season as he’s become more of a well-rounded threat while maintaining great percentages from the floor. The 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 24.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting ridiculous splits (51.5% FG/52.9% 3PT/90.0% FT). Not only is he a two-way threat, but he’s also become a more versatile scorer who is more comfortable off the dribble. On a loaded Oklahoma offense, Hield is getting a lot of room to operate.

ALL-BIG 12 FIRST TEAM

  • Georges Niang, Iowa State
  • Wayne Selden, Kansas
  • Monte Morris, Iowa State
  • Rico Gathers, Baylor
  • Buddy Hield, Oklahoma

[2015 REVIEW: Best Dunks | Best Games]

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED

  1. Once again, the Big 12 top-to-bottom looks deep and tough: The Big 12 looks like a conference with not a lot of easy outs in 2015-16 as most teams look tough. Depending on how the rest of the country shakes out, the league will get anywhere from 5-7 bids and even some future NIT teams are off to positive starts.
  2. Kansas and Oklahoma are major title contenders: As of this writing, KenPom’s top two teams are Kansas and Oklahoma, who will likely battle for the Big 12 regular season crown. The Jayhawks are at full strength now that Cheick Diallo has been cleared and Wayne Selden is playing very good ball. Hield leads an Oklahoma team that can space the floor from four positions and that experienced quartet is making half of their 3-pointers. Oh, and they just might square off on Monday as the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country.
  3. Iowa State has adjusted just fine under Steve Prohm: Even though Steve Prohm is in his first season in Ames, the Cyclones have won some tough games and generally adjusted well to their new coach. Georges Niang and Monte Morris are off to fast starts and the emergence of Jameel McKay has been a ton of fun to watch. The question with the Cyclones becomes depth. Do they have enough contributors after the loss of Naz Long?

[CONFERENCE RESETS: ACC | Big Ten | American | Big East]

KEY STORY LINES IN LEAGUE PLAY

  1. How does Texas play with Shaka Smart?: The Big 12 gets its first taste of Shaka Smart and his Austin version of Havoc and the loss of Cameron Ridley to a broken foot means the Longhorns could be smaller and more athletic. This team can knock down three pointers, but some talented young guards like Tevin Mack, Eric Davis and Kerwin Roach have been inconsistent.
  2. Where does West Virginia fit into things?: West Virginia currently sits in the national polls, but they’ve only beaten San Diego State and Richmond this season while pressing their way to a 10-1 start. Bob Huggins has most of his 2015 NCAA tournament core back outside of Juwan Staten. This team can defend but nobody knows how good they are.
  3. Is this finally the year someone dethrones Kansas?: It’s well documented that Kansas has won 11 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles as the Jayhawks have long been the class of the Big 12. But this season, Oklahoma and Iowa State are again legitimate top 15 teams. The Sooners in particular look like a major threat. Will Kansas falter just enough for one of them to win the title?

[NEW PODCAST | NEW TOP 25]

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

BETTER THAN THEIR RECORD: Texas picked off North Carolina with Marcus Paige at home so it showed that they can earn big wins in their arena. They’ll need a few more of those against the Big 12’s elite, but they’ll have plenty of chances with three top-10 caliber Big 12 teams. Ridley’s health — he broke his foot earlier this week — and how well they can replace his presence — he averaged a double-double — is going to be key.

BEAT SOMEONE AND WE’LL TALK: Texas Tech is off to a promising 10-1 start to the season, but they have a cupcake non-conference schedule that is ranked 215th in the nation by KenPom. Some look like okay wins — Arkansas-Little Rock, for example — but there is no at-large NCAA tournament win for the Red Raiders at the moment.

COACH UNDER PRESSURE: Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford has needed to receive public support from his bosses and the Cowboys’ biggest donor before and he needs to play well in the Big 12 in order to have that support continue. With some key pieces who have never played in the conference, they’ll be interesting to track.

POWER RANKINGS, POSTSEASON PREDICTIONS

Tourney teams

  • 1. Kansas (11-1): Deep and talented, senior Perry Ellis is having another strong season and the backcourt of Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham remains very good. The Jayhawks have front court depth that can’t be matched in the Big 12, although it will be interesting to see if Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg can be more than just role players.
  • 2. Oklahoma (12-0): Ryan Spangler is averaging a double-double while shooting 47 percent from three while Isaiah Cousins and Jordan Woodard remain one of the country’s most underrated backcourts. Oh, and they got that Buddy Hield guy, too. He’s been OK.
  • 3. Iowa State (11-1): Transfer wing Deonte Burton has given Iowa State a nice boost the last two games, but is that enough to give the Cyclones a shot at the league title? Their lack of depth in the paint is a major concern given how good Oklahoma and Kansas are.
  • 4. Baylor (10-2): Rico Gathers is a consistent double-double machine and Taurean Prince is a talented all-around forward. How their back court handle the Big 12’s best guards is the key to Baylor’s conference success.
  • 5. West Virginia(10-1): Once again flying around the floor and forcing turnovers, West Virginia needs to beat somebody better than San Diego State and Richmond. They will once Big 12 play gets rolling. Devin Williams has been a stud.

NIT teams

  • 6. Texas (8-4): With Cameron Ridley going down with injury, it leaves a huge hole inside. The only strong victory Texas has is over North Carolina. Texas needs more quality wins to make the tournament, and that will be tough without Ridley, who was having an all-league kind of season.
  • 7. Texas Tech (10-1): The Red Raiders are playing good defense but their perimeter shooting leaves a lot to be desired. It remains to be seen if Texas Tech can win conference games after winning three last season.
  • 8. Kansas State (10-2): Another Big 12 team with a cupcake schedule, the Wildcats struggle to shoot (29% 3PT) and don’t have any meaningful wins.

Autobid or bust

  • 9. Oklahoma State (8-4)
  • 10. TCU (8-4)