Mathurin, top-seeded Arizona survive TCU upset bid in OT

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Bennedict Mathurin has come through plenty in clutch situations for Arizona. It’s no surprise he made his biggest plays of the season when the Wildcats needed him the most.

The sophomore shooting guard made a 3-pointer to force overtime and then scored six more points in the extra session as the top-seeded Arizona outlasted ninth-seeded TCU 85-80 on Sunday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Mathurin, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a second-team AP All-American selection, finished with 30 points. After Kerr Kriisa missed a 3, Mathurin was able to wrestle the ball away from TCU’s Emanuel Miller in the paint and put it in to give the Wildcats an 83-80 lead with 1:11 remaining.

After getting the rebound and making the basket, Mathurin did a couple fist pumps near the baseline.

“My coaches were getting on me for not getting enough rebounds. I was pretty happy about getting the offensive rebound,” said Mathurin, who is the sixth Arizona player to score at least 30 points in an NCAA Tournament game. “So I just went out there and got the rebound, made it. And I was emotional.”

Christian Koloko added 28 points and 12 rebounds, including a putback dunk that slammed the door on the Horned Frogs with 9 seconds left in OT.

Koloko was 12 of 13 from the field, including five dunks, but the rest of the Wildcats were 19 of 55, including 5 of 27 on 3-pointers.

Mathurin even got off to a slow start. He was 2 of 9 before making six of his last 10.

“Ben’s not afraid of the moment. He’s a special player who has an ability to rise up another level when needed. He has that clutch gene,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “I honestly felt really good when he had the ball in hands there. I knew he was going to shoot a 3. Right when he snapped that 3 off to tie it, it was pretty impressive.”

Mathurin and Koloko did enough though for the Wildcats (33-3) to avoid becoming the second No. 1 seed to fall during the second round. They advanced to Thursday’s South Region semifinals in San Antonio, Texas, where they will face fifth-seeded Houston.

“I mean, it was simple, it was win or go home,” Koloko said. “That’s not the first time we were down. We knew we had to keep playing our game. Coach trusted us and told us, you’ve got to hang in there. That’s what we did. We didn’t panic. We played our game and we came back.”

Chuck O’Bannon Jr. had a career-high 23 points for TCU (21-13) while Mike Miles Jr. and Eddie Lampkin Jr. had 20 apiece. The Horned Frogs were looking to get to the Sweet 16 for the first time.

“This season was everything for us because we weren’t even expected to be here. And for us to win our first game and be that close with the No. 1 seed just shows that we have a bunch of guys with a lot of grit,” O’Bannon said.

TCU still had a chance to win in regulation after Mathurin’s big shot, but Miles lost the ball near midcourt. Dalen Terry tried for a game-ending dunk but he didn’t get the shot off before time expired.

TCU trailed by eight points with less than eight minutes remaining and had missed 12 straight shots before scoring 12 straight points to go up 69-67 with 3:39 remaining. O’Bannon scored the first five points and Miles had the last four.

The Horned Frogs held Arizona scoreless for 5:09 before Terry’s 3 from the right corner tied it at 70.

“I’m so proud of them. TCU basketball, I told them I think they made millions of fans by watching this game,” Dixon said.

KRIISA RETURNS

Kriisa had three points in 27 minutes off the bench after missing the past three games.

The sophomore point guard’s season looked to be over after he suffered a sprained ankle when he collided with Koloko in the final minute of a Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal matchup against Stanford on March 10.

He missed his first five shots before hitting a 3-pointer from the left corner that began a spurt of nine straight Arizona points to give it a 67-58 advantage.

“For him to give us 26 minutes – our trainer, Justin Kokoskie, did an amazing job getting him available to play. That was a real sprained ankle. That was no tweak,” Lloyd said.

BIG PICTURE

Arizona: The Wildcats are 6-1 as a top seed in the second round since 1985. The only loss was to Wisconsin in 2000.

TCU: The Horned Frogs got their first NCAA Tournament victory in 35 years on Friday night, but Jamie Dixon’s dream of a deep run for his alma mater will have to wait at least another year.

UP NEXT

Arizona will face Houston for the first time since 2009. It will be the teams’ first meeting in the NCAA Tournament.

No. 6 Kansas slips past TCU 72-68 to remain tied atop Big 12

Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas coach Bill Self called point guard Dajuan Harris something unfit for print after his scoreless performance at TCU earlier this week served as a microcosm of the Jayhawks’ entire listless performance.

Well, Harris and the rest of his team made sure Self wouldn’t repeat those words Thursday night.

Ochai Agbaji scored 22 points, Harris showed some moxie by blocking Mike Miles’ shot in the final seconds. and the sixth-ranked Jayhawks avenged their loss to the Horned Frogs two days earlier with a 72-68 victory that forged a tie with Baylor atop the Big 12 heading into their regular-season finales.

Christian Braun was 4 for 4 from the field and added 12 points, Harris scored 11 and David McCormack finished with 10 for the Jayhawks (24-6, 13-4), who will face No. 21 Texas on Saturday just hours before the third-ranked Bears face Iowa State to decide the conference title and the No. 1 seed in next week’s Big 12 Tournament.

“That’s a hard team for us because they’re so athletic,” Self said, “and it negates us in a lot of ways. They can switch and they’re interchangeable. It’s a hard matchup for us.”

The Jayhawks were put in a win-or-else predicament Tuesday night when TCU handled them easily at home. But with a packed Allen Fieldhouse behind them, Self’s crew regrouped Thursday night, overcoming a sluggish start to turn back the Horned Frogs (19-10, 8-9) in the makeup of a game postponed from Jan. 1 because of COVID-19.

Not that it was easy at any point.

The Jayhawks were clinging to a 71-68 lead when the Horned Frogs forced a shot-clock violation with eight seconds left in the game. Miles tried to go to the rim for a layup but was blocked by Harris, and the ball landed in the hands of teammate Jalen Wilson, who made one of two free throws to put the game away.

“We said be ready to get a 3 but if we had a layup to go,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “I like our best guy going to the rim with that much time left.”

He just didn’t expect Harris to be there with a chip on his shoulder.

“We watched the TCU game from last game (and) coach called me something I didn’t like,” Harris said with a smile, “so I had to show him I wasn’t that word. I can’t even say it.”

Emanuel Miller scored 18 points to lead the Horned Frogs. Damion Baugh finished with 14 points.

The Jayhawks never showed a whole lot of fight Tuesday night, when they allowed TCU to dictate just about everything – the tempo, the style, the final score. But at least Mitch Lightfoot showed a little Thursday night, when their senior got into a jawing match with Eddie Lampkin Jr. and proceeded to throw down an ally-oop dunk behind his back.

Naturally, the jawing resumed and Lightfoot was hit with a technical foul. But that only served to ramp up the energy level inside Allen Fieldhouse, where the two teams had played to a 35-all draw by the halftime buzzer.

It took foul trouble to slow the Horned Frogs down in the second half.

Miles, who scored 19 in the win at Schollmaier Arena, took a seat with four fouls with 10 minutes to go. Lampkin joined him on the bench when the bruising forward picked up his fourth with just over seven minutes to go.

Kansas finally pulled ahead 60-59 when Agbaji made a couple of free throws. Then, the Big 12’s leading scorer stepped in front of Baugh’s pass and went the length of the floor for a dunk that fired up the mostly mask-less crowd.

Braun eventually capped an 11-2 run with a 3-pointer that gave Kansas a 69-61 lead with 2 1/2 minutes to play, and the Jayhawks held on the rest of the way to remain tied atop the conference standings.

“They were the more aggressive team just overall,” Braun said of the matchup Tuesday night. “We knew we had to punch them back. They punched us at their house, we had to respond. We knew this game was really important for our goals.”

BIG PICTURE

TCU was just 4 of 16 from beyond the arc after going 3 for 15 in the matchup in Fort Worth, Texas. But unlike that game, when the Horned Frogs compensated with just seven turnovers, they had 15 of them on Thursday night.

Kansas also struggled from beyond the arc, and it was outrebounded for the second straight game by TCU. But the foul line proved to be the difference, where the Jayhawks were 18 of 23 and made a couple crucial ones down the stretch.

UP NEXT

TCU wraps up the regular season Saturday at West Virginia.

Kansas welcomes the Longhorns to Allen Fieldhouse.

TCU second win in row over top-10 team, 74-64 over No. 6 Kansas

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas – TCU is off to a good start in March, and the Horned Frogs pretty much know for sure now that they will be part of the madness of the NCAA Tournament.

Sixth-ranked Kansas has consecutive losses for the first time this season while still trying to clinch a Big 12 title.

Mike Miles Jr. had 19 points and six assists as TCU solidified its once-shaky tournament resume with a second consecutive win versus a top-10 team, 74-64 over the Jayhawks on Tuesday night.

“It means everything. … This gives us momentum,” Miles said.

“I’m really glad for our players, they really bought in,” coach Jamie Dixon said, pointing out that it was March 1. “You could see it this last week and you could just kind of see things coming.”

The Horned Frogs (19-9, 8-8 Big 12), who had never had consecutive wins over ranked opponents, secured the game during a stretch when Miles made a strong move around KJ Adams Jr. for a layup, and then made a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 59-49 with 7:44 left.

After a Kansas miss, Xavier Cork had a slam dunk that sent the full-house crowd into a frenzy. Students swarmed the court when it was over.

Kansas (23-6, 12-4) went from a half-game Big 12 lead to a half-game behind third-ranked Baylor (25-5, 13-4) with an extra game to play.

The Jayhawks, who play TCU again Thursday at home before facing No. 21 Texas on Saturday, missed a chance to clinch at least a share of their 20th Big 12 title in 26 seasons when they lost 80-70 at third-ranked Baylor last Saturday – the same day the Frogs won at home 69-66 against then-No. 9 Texas Tech.

Kansas will now go to the final day of the regular season before the title is settled.

“Baylor was a game in which we played well in stretches and we played poorly in stretches, but they’re good. And it was on the road. … I mean, sometimes that happens,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Tonight was more bothersome to me because we had everything to play for, but they did too. And it looked like to me, they were the quicker, more aggressive team, hands down.”

Emmanuel Miller added 11 points for TCU, which has won three of four since a three-game losing streak that had its NCAA hopes in jeopardy. The Frogs were last in the tournament in 2017-18, only their second appearance since their last tourney win in 1987 when Dixon was a senior guard for them.

“It just proves we can beat anybody,” Miles said. “We just want to play our best basketball, and that’s what we’re doing .”

Ochai Agbaji, the Big 12 leading scorer at 20.4 points per game, had 13 points for Kansas on 4-of-17 shooting, with three 3s. Jalen Wilson also had 13 points and David McCormack scored 11. Agbaji and McCormack both had eight rebounds.

The Jayhawks took a 35-34 halftime lead after scoring the last six points. Agbaji swished a 3 from the right corner in front of the TCU bench and Jalen Coleman-Lands put them ahead with a 3 from the right side.

After McCormack made two free throws in the opening minute of the second half, TCU scored the next six points – including layups by Miller and Cork – to go ahead for good.

LONE STAR LOSSES

Kansas finished 0-4 in Big 12 road games in Texas. Before the back-to-back losses to Baylor and TCU, the Jayhawks lost Jan. 8 at Texas Tech and Feb. 7 at Texas. There are some projections that have Kansas opening the NCAA Tournament in Fort Worth, at Dickies Arena that is only a few miles from the TCU campus. There is also a regional semifinal and final in San Antonio.

BIG PICTURE

Kansas: The Jayhawks hadn’t lost consecutive Big 12 games since losing three in a row on the road in January 2021. Their last consecutive double-digit losses had been in February 2004, Self’s first season with KU, on the road against Oklahoma State and Nebraska. … Kansas is 107-16 in games following a loss in Self’s 19 seasons. They had been 4-0 this season.

TCU: The Horned Frogs have four wins against AP Top 25 teams this season, the first time they have ever done that. They are 4-3 against ranked teams, 3-1 at home.

UP NEXT

Kansas and TCU play again Thursday night, this time in Lawrence, Kansas, in the makeup of what was supposed to be the Big 12 opener for both teams on New Year’s Day. That game was postponed because of COVID-19 issues in TCU’s program.

TCU boosts NCAA hopes with 69-66 upset of No. 9 Texas Tech

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas – Mike Miles and the TCU Horned Frogs needed at least one victory in a stretch of four consecutive games against ranked opponents to help their case for the NCAA Tournament.

A second-half rally against No. 9 Texas Tech might have done the trick.

Miles scored 26 points, Xavier Cork dunked for the go-ahead bucket late and TCU rallied for a 69-66 victory in a wild back-and-forth finish Saturday night.

The Horned Frogs (18-9, 7-8 Big 12) trailed by 11 points early in the second half and went ahead for the first time after the break on a 3-pointer by Francisco Farabello for a 61-60 lead.

TCU’s victory came after losing a 10-point lead in the second half at 20th-ranked Texas. The next two are back-to-back against No. 5 Kansas before a regular-season finale at last-place West Virginia.

An eighth league win almost certainly would be enough. The seventh the Horned Frogs just secured might be.

“We’ve done a lot of things,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “Our league is just ridiculous. There’s going to be some teams that are way better than other teams that make it as at-larges, just because the league’s so tough top to bottom.”

Farabello’s bucket started a stretch of seven consecutive possessions in which the lead changed hands inside the 4-minute mark, with equally loud cheers after each bucket because of the large red-clad Texas Tech contingent in the crowd.

The Horned Frogs finally protected the lead by forcing a shot-clock violation from the Red Raiders (22-7, 11-5) with 34 seconds left after Cork’s dunk put TCU ahead 67-66 with 1:11 remaining.

Miles made one of two free throws with 24 seconds to go before former Texas Tech player Micah Peavy stole an entry pass intended for Bryson Williams, who scored 21 points.

Peavy missed a free throw that would have put the Horned Frogs up four, but Terrence Shannon Jr. and Adonis Arms missed 3-pointers before Peavy got a rebound.

After Peavy missed two more free throws, the Red Raiders called timeout as the buzzer sounded, leading to 0.5 seconds being put on the clock. Williams caught the long inbound pass and hit a turnaround 3-pointer, but it was after the buzzer.

TCU students celebrated with players at midcourt with the officials roped off checking the replay, which confirmed that Williams’ shot was late. It was the end of a four-game Texas Tech winning streak that started with a victory over the Horned Frogs in Lubbock.

“In my gut, I felt like if we couldn’t separate when we were up six, eight, nine, 10 points, it was going to be a game,” first-year Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. “We went back-and-forth at that margin for a while but they just started getting closer and closer and got some momentum and confidence. And we could never get it turned around.”

Emanuel Miller scored 11 points for the Horned Frogs, and Damion Baugh added 10.

Arms had 15 points for the Red Raiders, while Warren scored 12.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders missed a chance to finish their first regular-season sweep of Baylor, Texas and TCU in 26 years. The last one was in 1995-96, the last season of the Southwest Conference. The Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012-13.

TCU: The Horned Frogs trailed for long stretches, and part of the reason they stayed close was solid 3-point shooting from Miles and Baugh. Both came in shooting less than 30% from long range. They combined to go 5 of 11.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Red Raiders might have another one-week stay in the top 10 of The Associated Press poll. They got in for the first time two weeks ago, but a loss at Oklahoma knocked them out right away. This loss puts them at risk of dropping out again.

ROLLER-COASTER RIDE

The split crowd made the back-and-forth finish more entertaining. Farabello’s go-ahead 3 sent a raucous student section into a frenzy, and the roar was just as loud when Arms answered with a dunk. Miles drove for an easy layup, then Tech got another dunk from Williams.

After two free throws from Williams, Warren hit a driving layup. Then Cork dunked on an assist from Miles. TCU shot 55% in the second half against one of the nation’s best teams in field goal percentage defense.

“It was a high-level game, which shouldn’t surprise you in this league and the way we’re playing and the way they’re playing,” Dixon said. “We know how good they are on the defensive end, so I’m sure they wonder about our shooting percentage against them.”

UP NEXT

Texas Tech: The home finale is Monday against Kansas State.

TCU: The first of two against the Jayhawks is at home Tuesday. The rematch is Thursday in Lawrence, a game that was postponed in early January because of COVID-19 issues with the Horned Frogs.

Jones scores 21, sparks No. 20 Texas rally past TCU 75-66

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
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AUSTIN, Texas- Time and again, Texas has turned to Andrew Jones to provide the offense to rescue the Longhorns from a loss.

They did it Wednesday against TCU, and the sixth-year guard delivered the big baskets again in arguably the best stretch of scoring in his career.

Jones scored 21 points, sparking the key run in the second half that pulled the No 20 Longhorns out of a 10-point deficit before Texas pulled away for a 75-66 victory. Jones has scored at least 20 points in three consecutives games for the first time in his career.

“I think he’s a scorer … I don’t think he’s necessarily just a shooter,” first-year Texas coach Chris Beard said. “To win games in March, you’ve got to have players. Tonight was one of the better games I’ve seen him play. I don’t think he made a 3-point shot and he puts 21 on the board.”

Marcus Carr scored 19 and Timmy Allen had 17 for Texas (20-8, 9-6 Big 12), which reached 20 wins in the regular season for the first time in six years, and ensured the Longhorns will finish no worse than .500 in the Big 12 with three games left.

Mike Miles scored 17 for TCU (17-9, 6-8), which shot 65% in the first half and built a 10-point lead before Texas rallied. Texas has won seven in a row over TCU.

Texas trailed 48-38 with just over 13 minutes to play and was sputtering on offense before Jones and lock-down defense created the game-changing run.

Jones started it with a twisting layup on a three-point play and followed it with a short jumper. Texas forced four turnovers before Jones converted another three-point play in transition, giving Texas a 53-50 lead. Jones also had just one turnover in nearly 35 minutes on the court and went 7 of 8 from the line.

“We just couldn’t seem to turn the tide and get it back,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “They were certainly the more physical team. They knocked us all over the place especially in the second half.”

Jones, who is his sixth season after recovering from leukemia diagnosed in his sophomore season, saw his teammates needed someone to lead the way if they were going to avoid a second consecutive home loss.

“We were losing and we needed to get downhill. I hadn’t hit a jumper,” Jones said. “I knew once my teammates saw me being aggressive, they’d be like, `If you can do it, I can do it too.’ I feel like it triggered some spark.”

BIG PICTURE

TCU: The Horned Frogs were on the verge of a big win they needed to boost their postseason position. But the first-half shooting bonanza dried up and a rash of turnovers began just when Texas was making its run for a season sweep of the Horned Frogs. TCU scored just 16 points over the final 11 minutes.

Texas: The Longhorns got huge bounce-back games from Carr and Allen who were non-factors in a tough loss to Texas Tech a few days earlier. Carr was scoreless against the Red Raiders and Allen had just six points as Texas was outscored in the paint in that game 26-10. Carr shot 6 of 14 and Allen had a team-high seven boards against the Horned Frogs.

Texas scored 38 in the paint against the Horned Frogs, with a bunch coming from Carr’s drives inside.

“I still have nightmares about that Tech game,” Carr said. “I’ll just try to keep learning from it and play better going forward.”

TIP-INS

Texas topped 70 points for just the third time in eight games despite shooting just 1-of-14 on 3-pointers, and that one came in the first 2 minutes … Texas was 24 of 29 on free throws compared to 8 of 11 by TCU … Texas scored 30 points off 17 TCU turnovers … TCU made five 3-pointers in the first half but just one in the second.

UP NEXT

TCU: Hosts No. 9 Texas Tech on Saturday.

Texas: At West Virginia on Saturday, followed by hosting No. 10 Baylor on Monday.

Miller leads balanced TCU past West Virginia 77-67

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas- Emmanuel Miller had 18 points and all five starters scored in double figures as TCU defeated West Virginia 77-67 on Monday night.

Mike Miles had 15 points, Chuck O’Bannon 11, and Damion Baugh and Xavier Clark 10 each for TCU. Baugh also had seven assists and seven rebounds. Miller had eight rebounds.

Taz Sherman led West Virginia with 23 points. Kedrian Johnson added 12.

A 14-6 run to open the second half gave TCU a nine-point lead and the Horned Frogs were not seriously threatened the rest of the way. The lead was 10 points after Cork dunked for a 66-56 lead near the 5-minute mark. TCU’s largest lead was 13.

Sherman scored 17 points in an explosive first half in which West Virginia shot 55% and TCU made 57%. The Horned Frogs led 43-42 at the break. TCU stayed hot in the second half, shooting 50% for 53.7% overall. West Virginia cooled off after halftime and shot 35% to finish at 46% for the game.

TCU’s win was just the fourth all-time against West Virginia, which leads the series 16-4. All four of TCU’s victories have come in Fort Worth.

The game was a makeup for the contest that was originally scheduled to be played on Jan. 3 but was postponed because of COVID-19 issues within the TCU program.