FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU senior guard Hank Thorns sent a tweet a few hours before playing No. 11 UNLV about never experiencing the thrill of being surrounded by Horned Frogs fans on the court after a big victory.
He needed to do an update afterward.
Thorns scored eight of his career-high 32 points in overtime and the Frogs beat a ranked team for the first time in five years with a 102-97 victory Tuesday night over his hometown team.
When the game ended, the Las Vegas native jumped excitedly onto the scorer's table before joining the rest of his teammates being mobbed by TCU students in the middle of the floor. Thorns found his father and uncle in the crowd, then shed tears when he got in the locker room.
"I'm just overwhelmed,' Thorns said. "My dream came true. It was a dream for me to do this, to beat these guys. That's something I always wanted to do, it was my reason to come here to TCU, and we got them when they were No. 11 in the country."
TCU (15-10, 5-4 Mountain West) trailed by 18 points with about 15 minutes left and had cut that deficit by only three points 5 minutes later.
The Frogs hadn't led since the opening minutes of the game when Thorns started overtime with a layup to break the 85-all tie. And they didn't give the lead up from after that. Thorns made his eighth 3-pointer of the game with 1:21 left, dribbling in a circle around several defenders and then shooting over one to make it 96-91.
"It's hard to put it into perspective — down 18 points to the No. 11 team in the country. I told our kids before the game I felt like we had an opportunity," TCU coach Jim Christian said. "When we got down, in our huddles, I knew they were coming back, everything that was said. ... I just thought our kids were so resilient and play so hard."
UNLV (22-5, 6-3) had won 13 of 15, the losses by a combined four points. The Rebels were coming off a 65-63 win over No. 13 San Diego State to avenge a two-point road loss against the Aztecs last month.
TCU had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation after Oscar Bellfield had a turnover, but Thorns made one pass too many.
Kyan Anderson stole the ball and got it to Thorns, who was driving toward the basket. Instead of taking the shot, he dished it to J.R. Cadot, who made the layup — except the clock ran out before the ball got out of his hand.
Just four weeks ago against TCU in Las Vegas, the Runnin' Rebels opened the game with an 18-2 run. They led by at least 13 points the rest of the way and won 101-78.
Not this time.
"One of the things we're not very good at right now is keeping our foot on the pedal on both ends of the floor," UNLV coach Dave Rice said. "For us to be a very good team, for us to advance to being a very good team we have to have almost that killer instinct where if we're up six, get up eight; if we're up 18, try to get up 22, 24."
Mike Moser had 22 points and all five starters scored in double figures for UNLV. Anthony Marshall and Chace Stanback had 17 points, while Bellfield had 16 and Brice Massamba 12.
Cadot had 16 points and 12 rebounds for TCU, while Garlon Green had 13 points and Craig Williams 10.
Bellfield put the Rebels up 66-48 with 14:57 left in regulation. They were still up by 15 about five minutes later when Moser scored five quick points.
After making a nifty basket at one end, Moser grabbed a long rebound on the other and drove for a layup while being fouled. His free throw made it 76-61 with 9:54 left.
The Horned Frogs didn't get even until consecutive 3-pointers by Thorns with a layup by Moser in between. Thorns' second 3 in that spurt, deep beyond the top of the key with the shot clock running down, tied the game at 83 with 2:58 left.
"He made some shots at the end of the game that nobody could guard," Rice said. "But the problem is giving him confidence to start the game. He's a great player, there's obviously extra motivation for him playing UNLV."
Thorns finished 11-of-21 shooting, 8 of 12 on 3-pointers.
"I can't explain it," Thorns said. "I shot it like I normally shoot. I was just hot, I was feeling it."
After Thorns' last 3 in regulation, a dunk by Moser put the Rebels back in front briefly.
Amric Fields missed a long jumper for TCU that was rebounded by Marshall. But Marshall was falling down and threw the ball down the court right to Fields, who then drove for a tying layup.
Fields, who finished with 17 points, missed two 3-pointers after that. The last was rebounded by Bellfield with 17 seconds left. UNLV called timeout to set up a final play in regulation, but Bellfield lost the ball with 2 seconds remaining.
TCU's last win over a ranked team had been 71-66 over No. 14 Air Force.
"UNLV's a phenomenal team, and I'm not taking anything away from them," Christian said. "But don't take anything away from our team. They didn't give us this game, we won this game."
- Horned Frogs