FORT WORTH (AP) – TCU coach Trent Johnson didn’t even look at the end of his bench, where six Horned Frog players sat in white polo shirts and slacks instead of uniforms.
None of those guys can help on the court right now.
Buddy Hield scored 24 points and No. 23 Oklahoma clinched the No. 2 seed in next week’s Big 12 tournament with a 97-67 victory Saturday at TCU, the league’s first team in 10 years to go through the regular season without winning a conference game.
“This group has never stopped playing. And for me, I struggle,” said Johnson, in his second season at TCU. “We’re not very good. … We’re not very talented and we’re not very deep and we’ve been banged up. And those aren’t excuses, but these kids continue to fight.”
TCU (9-21, 0-18 Big 12) plays seventh-seeded Baylor, which has won seven of its last eight games, in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday night in Kansas City. The winner of that game plays the next night against Oklahoma (23-8, 12-6).
The last Big 12 team to go without a league win was Texas A&M during the 2003-04 season, when the Aggies were 0-16. That is the same mark Baylor had in 1998-99.
The Horned Frogs went 2-16 in Big 12 games in their league debut last season. Their wins were against then-No. 5 Kansas, and the regular-season finale against the same Sooners they played this time.
But there wouldn’t be another upset in the final game at Daniel Meyer Coliseum before the arena undergoes a $59 million renovation that will force the Frogs to play their home games off campus next season.
Jarvis Ray, one of two TCU seniors in their final home game, matched his career high with 18 points. Kyan Anderson, a junior guard and one of only four Horned Frogs to play in every game this season, added 17 points.
“It’s unfortunate for those two who are seniors, that they won’t be around when this team looks like the team that just beat us,” Johnson said. “We’re going to be good eventually. We’re going to win some games, this thing is going to get turned.”
TCU won nine of its last 10 games before beginning Big 12 play. The Horned Frogs lost their league opener 74-69 to West Virginia, but that ended up being one of only three conference games they lost by single digits — and none were closer.
The non-playing group at the end of the bench included two big men who sustained season-ending knee injuries during a team trip to Canada in August — 6-foot-10 center Aaron Durley and 6-8 junior forward Devonta Abron. Durley arrived as a highly touted freshman two years ago who hasn’t played a game yet because of two different knee injuries.
There were also two transfers, another player sitting out for academics, and Amric Fields, the 6-9 junior who missed most of last season with a knee injury and averaged 13.1 points in the 18 games he played this season before not playing the last five games.
After Anderson came out of the game, Johnson did get in front of the junior guard, Fields and a couple of other underclassmen.
“Your senior day or not will not be like this,” the coach told them.
After four ties and five lead changes in the first 5 minutes of the game Saturday, Oklahoma took control with a 14-3 run in which five different players scored.
Clark passed inside to Spangler for a reverse layup that put the Sooners up 11-10 and started the go-ahead 4-minute spurt. Hield had a 3-pointer from the left wing and followed a TCU miss with another basket.
The Sooners led 53-38 at halftime before then scoring the first seven points after the break.
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