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The Horned Frogs couldn’t overcome a historic number of turnovers in a 73-72 loss to visiting No. 24 Iowa State on Saturday.
Until the final few minutes, TCU’s offense was sloppy, lackluster and uninspiring most of the game. The Horned Frogs had two turnovers on their first two possessions and finished with a staggering 27, the most in Jamie Dixon’s eight-year tenure as TCU head coach and the most in a game since 1999.
While TCU was struggling to run its offense, Iowa State was surging. The Horned Frogs trailed by double digits most of the game and every time a run was made, the Cyclones had answer.
When TCU used a 7-0 run out of halftime trail 44-33, Iowa State answered with a 6-0 to get the lead back to 17. Later in the half the Horned Frogs would cut it to single digits with a 10-0 capped by a pair of Micah Peavy free throws to make it 61-52 with 9:19 remaining.
On the very next trip down, Keshon Gilbert converted a three-point play to increase the margin back to double figures. TCU continued to fight and used a 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 71-67 with 1:33 remaining. Peavy had a chance to cut it to two, but his jumper rimmed in and out.
The Cyclones hit enough free throws down the stretch to put TCU away as Trevian Tennyson’s 3-pointer before the buzzer was too little, too late, for the final one-point margin.
No star, no problem
TCU played without its best player and leading scorer Tamin Lipsey. Lipsey averages 14.5 points and a team-high 5.6 assists and you would think his absence would be an advantage for TCU, but the Cyclones didn’t miss a beat on either end of the floor without Lipsey.
Keshon Gilbert and Curtis Jones picked up the slack for him as they thoroughly outplayed TCU’s guards. Gilbert carried the load in the first half with 14 points and two 3-pointers. His second 3 gave Iowa State a 31-20 lead after TCU seemed to be on the verge of coming back. Jones looked more like a free safety than a basketball player as he picked off pass after pass from TCU.
Jones had seven steals including four in the opening five minutes. Jones came out firing in the second half with a three and another basket on back-to-back possessions to increase the Cyclones’ lead to 50-33. Gilbert hit a number of key buckets to preserve Iowa State’s lead. On the opposite end TCU guards Avery Anderson and Jameer Nelson combined for 12 turnovers.
Ugly opening half
To be blunt, the Horned Frogs played their worst 20 minutes of basketball all season in the first half against Iowa State. Without their leading scorer, the Cyclones had to rely on their top-ranked defense to generate offense and the Horned Frogs struggled to match the intensity from the opening tip.
How bad was it? After having 19 turnovers in the loss against Cincinnati on Tuesday, the Horned Frogs had 18 turnovers in the first half against the Cyclones. Lazy passes, over penetration and just pure hustle and grit by the Cyclones defense led to such a sloppy display of basketball by TCU. At one point when Iowa State had a 28-20 lead, 26 of their points were a result of turnovers or second chance opportunities.
From that point, Iowa State used a 10-2 run to increase its lead to 38-22, the largest deficit TCU has faced in conference play. Avery Anderon temporarily stopped the run with a contested layup, but the Cyclones still took a big 44-26 lead into halftime. The Horned Frogs were booed off the court as their 18th turnover led to another wide open basket just before the buzzer.