TCU (14-3) held off Iowa State (11-5) late to grab an 84-77 win at Schollmeier Arena on Saturday afternoon. A back-and-forth affair in the first half, TCU took a small lead to the half and never let it up despite multiple charges by Iowa State. The Horned Frogs went on a 6-0 run early in the second half after forcing multiple turnovers against the usually sure-handed Cyclones. TCU was led by Vladimir Brodziansky, who scored 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting, including a late, back-breaking 3-pointer. Naz Mitrou-Long paced the Cyclones with 19 points.
The first half was filled with hot shooting from both squads as they combined for 85 points before heading to the locker room. TCU used solid floor spacing and offensive rebounds to shoot 59.4 percent from the field. Iowa State answered with their own offensive firepower, specifically reserve Donovan Jackson, who scored a career-high 16 points in the first half. TCU took a 44-41 lead to the break after a tough midrange jumper from freshman point guard Jaylen Fisher.
TCU took control out of halftime, forcing consecutive turnovers and scoring a couple of easy buckets on the resulting fast breaks. Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, Monte Morris, fresh off a career-high 30 points at Oklahoma State, was mostly a non-factor throughout the game. Morris struggled from the field, shooting 4-of-14 from the field while dealing with foul trouble.
TCU was relentless on the glass, outrebounding Iowa State, 36-27, including 13 offensive rebounds that kept the Cyclones at arm’s length. The Cyclones put together a late run to cut the lead to five, but a Matt Thomas travel and a missed reverse layup from Deonte Burton squashed any momentum. TCU finished it off with a Kenrich Williams dunk. Williams, despite one of the worst haircuts in human history, ha 13 points and 13 rebounds.
- Iowa State’s defense has been a pleasant surprise this season, but TCU showed the blueprint for success against the Cyclones. Take care of the ball (for the most part), get it inside and crash the glass. The Horned Frogs worked inside-out with Brodziansky finishing in the paint while setting up outside shooters for open threes.
- The Cyclones have taken care of the ball all season, but a bad stretch early in the second half gave TCU the separation it needed to put the pressure on Iowa State. The Cyclones also looked rattled late, turning the ball over when looking to get within one possession.
- Deonte, oh Deonte. As mercurial of player as you will ever see, we have to accept that this is what he is. An All-Big 12 player one game, and a complete dud the next, Burton is a frustrating guy to watch. When he has confidence and looks to get his teammates involved as he did at Oklahoma State on Wednesday, Iowa State is a top 25 team. When he forces the action and faces adversity, he lets it affect his game on both ends. At this point, just get used to it and try not to throw anything at the TV.
- I’m wondering why head coach Steve Prohm is so reluctant to give Solomon Young more minutes. He adds the interior presence that the Cyclones were so clearly missing in a game like this. TCU was having its way in the paint, and ISU needed a spark. Young would have been a nice changeup when Burton was doing more to hurt his team than help.
- OK, a couple of positives: Mitrou-Long’s game is still developing, and he’s starting to realize he’s more valuable as a slasher than a shooter. Mitrou-Long has always been known for his three-point shooting, but lately he’s been more effective finishing at the rim, where his strength allows him to get easy buckets. As we saw today, this part of his game will help his shooting as well.
- Also, Donovan Jackson showed why he was a highly sought-after JUCO recruit, scoring 16 points in the first half. It was unfortunate that he couldn’t get more involved in the second half, but his progress bodes well for the future of the PG position at Iowa State.
- Jamie Dixon is a very good coach, and I was impressed with TCU’s discipline and execution. They share the ball and compete on the glass. That’s a good recipe for an undermanned squad (that’s changing quickly too for the Horned Frogs), and I expect TCU to contend for an NCAA tournament berth. That was good basketball.
Next up: No. 2 (likely No. 1 on Monday) Kansas, Monday at Hilton Coliseum, 8 p.m. ESPN