via The Sports Xchange
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The magnitude of the upset TCU managed Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament could not be understated.
The unranked Horned Frogs, seeded eighth, stunned No. 1 Kansas 85-82 at Sprint Center behind three decisive free throws by freshman guard Desmond Bane with 2.5 seconds remaining.
“This is the win of my career, right here, to be completely honest,” stated TCU senior guard Brandon Parrish, who scored 12 points and was one of five Horned Frogs to net double figures. “It was a lot of times where we would look at things in the media and people would tell us we were never good enough, we would never be able to get it done.”
Under first-year coach Jamie Dixon, however, TCU is in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament, where it will face Iowa State on Friday.
Kansas, meanwhile, fell for just the second time in its Big 12 Tournament opener and will have to wait until Selection Sunday to learn if it will be awarded the No. 1 overall seed as many predicted.
“I wasn’t hoping it would be a one-and-out type deal at all,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “But it’s not the worst thing that we can get our legs back under us.”
With the score tied 82-82, Bane was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 2.5 seconds remaining by the Jayhawks’ Svi Mykhailiuk. Bane made all three free throws before the Jayhawks threw a full-court pass and got a 3-point look for junior guard Devonte’ Graham, who missed his game-tying try.
The win enhanced TCU’s chances of landing an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, though the Horned Frogs (19-14) may need to capture the Big 12 Tournament to be selected.
“I felt this was an NCAA Tournament team that didn’t get it done for a stretch there,” said Dixon, “and maybe we had to grow into it. Maybe we’re growing now rather than two weeks ago.”
The Horned Frogs certainly came up big against the Jayhawks, sometimes at will.
“The number of uncontested plays they had compared to us had to be three-to-one,” Self said.
Kansas was playing for the first time without 6-foot-8 guard Josh Jackson. The Big 12 newcomer of the year served a one-game disciplinary suspension and did not speak to the media after the game.
“Everybody has guys that play, don’t play, get in foul trouble,” Dixon said. “Every time we’ve played them we’ve been in foul trouble, amazingly. I think it’s how we did it. … The main difference is we made free throws down the stretch.”
The biggest came from Bane, though Dixon did not know at first whether his freshman would be able to attempt the shots because of the hard foul by Mykhailiuk.
“He’s the guy we wanted shooting,” Dixon said.
Junior guard Kenrich Williams scored 18 points to pace TCU, but he fouled out with 3:12 remaining. The Frogs used a 15-2 run to snag an 11-point lead with 13:57 remaining as Bane capped the run with a driving layup.
Senior guard Frank Mason, the Big 12 player of the year, scored 29 points to pace Kansas. Senior forward Landen Lucas notched a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds as the Jayhawks fell to 28-4 after going 16-2 in Big 12 play.
Without Jackson, each of the Kansas starters played at least 35 minutes. No one ever subbed in for Mason.
“It’s a teaching moment not only for me, but also for our guys to learn and hopefully be better for it,” Self said. “So, I’m disappointed (Jackson) didn’t get a chance to play. He’s disappointed, but I think he will respond favorably to it.”
The Horned Frogs led by 11 with 13:57 remaining as freshman guard Desmond Bane capped a 15-2 run with a layup to make it 60-49.
The Jayhawks roared back and regained the lead 75-74 on a 3-pointer by Graham with 5:15 left.
At the 3:36 mark, an extra point was awarded Kansas after replays showed sophomore guard Lagerald Vick made a 3-pointer more than four minutes earlier. The point, coupled with a free throw by Lucas, gave Kansas a 77-76 lead.
TCU did not regain the lead until sophomore guard Alex Robinson drove for a layup with 45 seconds left to make it 82-80, capping a 6-0 run. Mason made two free throws with 22.8 seconds left before Bane’s game-winning free throws.
A technical on TCU coach Jamie Dixon stoked the Horned Frogs down the stretch in the first half.
The call came with 4:20 remaining after a bucket by Vick. Mason added two free throws, giving the Jayhawks their biggest margin of the half, 39-27.
The Frogs then closed the half with a 16-3 tear. The only points the Jayhawks managed came off free throws, while the Frogs knocked down three 3-pointers. A free throw by Bane with 5.4 seconds left provided a halftime margin of 43-42, TCU’s first lead.
“It’s just part of the game,” Dixon said of the technical. “It’s not an easy game to ref. Two teams were playing hard and you know, it’s just part of the game. But I’ve gotten more Ts in the league than I think I’ve got in my whole career.”
Kansas shot 51.9 percent for the half, getting 13 points each from Mason and Mykhailiuk, who made his first five shots. Williams led the balanced Frogs with nine points, while Robinson distributed six assists.