TCU gives No. 9 Kansas scare in loss

Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason III (0) is guarded by TCU Horned Frogs forward Brandon Parrish (11) and guard Trey Zeigler (32) in the second half at Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center. Kansas beat TCU 64-61. 

Tim Heitman/Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

FORT WORTH, Texas — The TCU Horned Frogs gave the ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks all they could handle on Wednesday night at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center, but in the end the visitors escaped Tarrant County with a 64-61 win. 

KU (17-3, 6-1 Big 12) was led by Frank Mason III who finished with 16 points, but the Jayhawk bench outscored the starters 35-29 and KU prevailed despite finishing the game minus-10 in total rebounds (50-40) and a whopping minus-17 on the offensive glass (26-9).

"The whole game was frustrating," Jayhawks head coach Bill Self said postgame. "I thought they played harder and obviously they were quicker to balls. They got every 50-50 ball, competed hard, and we were fortunate that they shot a low percentage and missed some free throws. We’re very fortunate that we won because I think that they outplayed us."

TCU (14-6, 1-6) lost a close one for the second time in a span of five days. On Saturday, the Frogs fell 86-85 in overtime at No. 16 West Virginia, and early in his postgame remarks to the media on Wednesday night, TCU head coach Trent Johnson admitted he was a bit worried about how his team might respond coming off such a tough loss to the Mountaineers.

"I thought our effort was pretty good," Johnson said. "I was worried after what happened on Saturday."

The Frogs actually had the final shot to force overtime as TCU inbounded the ball with three seconds remaining. However, a three-point attempt by Charles Hill Jr. from about 22 feet struck the back rim and bounced out of the cylinder as the final horn sounded. 

Kyan Anderson led all scorers with 17 points for TCU, but it was the Jayhawks who led 36-30 at the half. 

However, the Frogs went on a 7-0 run to start the second half, with five of those points coming from Anderson, to lead 37-36 with 17:43 remaining.

The Jayhawks and Frogs then traded blows before KU pulled away a bit to lead by nine at 52-43 with 8:51 remaining after Devonte’ Graham scored on a layup.

TCU chipped away again but a jumper by Mason III with 3:35 remaining put KU ahead by 11 at 59-48 and the game looked all but over. 

However, the Frogs went on a 13-5 run to finish the game, but in the end, TCU fell just short and the Jayhawks escaped with another conference win, albeit a well-earned and maybe even fortuitous victory in TCU’s temporary home.

"To come off the road after playing the No. 16 ranked team in the country in an overtime game and to come in here and play the No. 9 ranked team in the country, and have an opportunity to win just shows our team’s resilience," Johnson said.

Sure, the Frogs might have taken their sixth conference loss in seven Big 12 games so far this season, but Wednesday’s performance against the favored Jayhawks was just the latest sign that TCU hoops are most definitely on the rise under Johnson.

"We’re just trying to find a way to get the wins at the end and make certain plays to secure victories," Anderson said. "This is still a team that’s learning how to win in situations like that, but I believe we’ll get there."

TCU will get their next chance on Saturday afternoon at Iowa State.