STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — TCU coach Jamie Dixon has been stressing better defense to his players lately, and Tuesday night, that emphasis paid off.
Kenrich Williams scored 13 points and had nine rebounds and six assists, and Alex Robinson also scored 13 to help lead TCU to a 79-66 victory over Oklahoma State on Tuesday night.
Desmond Bane added 12 points, five assists and four rebounds for TCU (16-6, 4-5 Big 12), which had five players score in double digits.
The 66 points allowed was the lowest the Horned Frogs have given up since a 92-66 victory over Yale on Dec. 2.
“Good win, we did it with our defense, we’ve been preaching that,” Dixon said. “It’s been our weakness, but it seems to be getting better. We held them to 41 percent and outrebounded them by 11. That was the key for us, especially in that second half when we pulled away.”
TCU also entered the game ranked 13th in the nation with a 50.3 shooting percentage and topped that with a 56-percent effort (30 for 54).
Jeffrey Carroll scored 18 points and had five rebounds, while Kendall Smith had 13 points and three assists for Oklahoma State (13-9, 3-6).
It was the third straight loss for the Cowboys, following their 83-81 overtime upset over then-No. 4 Oklahoma 10 days earlier.
“Tough night at the office for us,” said OSU coach Mike Boynton. “We didn’t come out with the type of energy that we needed, really throughout the game. We had a couple of segments where we did show some fight and created some turnovers, but wasn’t consistent enough.”
The loss also snapped Oklahoma State’s 15-game home winning streak against unranked opponents.
When Mitchell Solomon put home a layup 13 seconds into the second half, Oklahoma State pulled to within 36-33, but the Horned Frogs reeled off an 18-6 run over the next six minutes to take control of the contest. Ahmed Hamdy’s layup with 13:55 to go gave TCU a 54-39 advantage, and although OSU made a late charge, they couldn’t get closer than six.
TCU: After four straight close losses on the road, the Horned Frogs finally emerged with a comfortable victory away from Fort Worth. They had lost overtime contests at Texas and Oklahoma before falling 81-78 at Vanderbilt on Saturday. TCU displayed impressive resilience by blunting a late Oklahoma State comeback attempt. After maintaining a double-digit lead for most of the second half, the Horned Frogs allowed Oklahoma State to get to within six with 6:38 to go. But TCU responded with a 9-2 run over the next three minutes to secure the victory.
Oklahoma State: For the fourth straight home game, the Cowboys fell behind by a wide margin in the second half, but this time, the inspirational comeback attempt fell short. Oklahoma State rallied from an eight-point deficit in the last 3:22 in a 96-87 overtime win over Iowa State on Jan. 6, then climbed out of a 12-point hole in the final 5:55 to take down Texas 65-64 on Jan. 13. The “Cardiac Cowboys” also battled back from five down with 2:11 remaining to shock then-No. 4 Oklahoma 83-81 in OT on Jan. 20. In this one, after falling behind by as much as 16 midway through the second half, Cam McGriff’s dunk with 6:38 left capped off a 14-4 run as OSU closed to within 63-57, but the Cowboys could get no closer.
“You can’t keep doing that,” Boynton said of the frequent comebacks. “It’s really hard and it takes a lot of energy, and then you’ve got to rebound and you really can’t have any slip-ups when you put yourself in that situation. We’ve got to find a way to play better consistently throughout the game and not rely on a great run at the end.”
Oklahoma State had won 14 of the previous 16 meetings between the schools. TCU hadn’t won in Stillwater since 1925. . After not attempting a single free throw in their 81-78 loss at Vanderbilt on Saturday, the Horned Frogs were 11 for 15 (73 percent) from the line. . Williams’ 13 points pushed him over the 1,000 mark for his career (1,007), becoming the 35th Horned Frog to hit that milestone.
HE SAID IT
“We expected to be higher and have a better record at this point, but we don’t deserve it, we haven’t played it,” Dixon said. “Hopefully, we’ve made some improvements, we’ve figured some things out, we’ve gotten better. You have to learn through mistakes and losses, and I think we’re seeing that to an extent, especially on the defensive end. Our RPI is good, we’re in the 20s, we’ve beaten some good teams, and we’ve lost a lot of close games to really good teams.”
TCU: The Horned Frogs are at home on Saturday against No. 10 Texas Tech, the only Big 12 team they haven’t faced this season.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys head out on the road to Allen Fieldhouse to take on No. 7 Kansas.
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