By Melissa Triebwasser
Frogs Today staff writer
The Horned Frogs haven’t won in Lubbock since 2015 and hadn’t swept the Red Raiders since 1991. Both streaks ended Saturday morning, as TCU held on for an 83-82 win over Texas Tech in a critical game for both teams.
The pace to start Saturday’s early-morning tip-off in Lubbock was as slow as a tumbleweed crossing the West Texas plains.
But TCU changed that in a hurry.
After taking nearly eight minutes to reach double-figures – and missing their first six 3-point attempts – the Frogs turned on the gas, turning a four point deficit into a nine point advantage in just four and a half minutes of clock time. It was a sign of things to come, as the 40 minute affair was truly a game of runs.
The Frogs took their first lead of the game at 18-17 with 9:46 to play in the first half. They wouldn’t trail again until the waning moments.
Led by Mike Miles, who had 15 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 24, the Frogs attacked the paint with authority to get easy opportunities inside as they waited for the outside shots to fall.
Damion Baugh broke an 0-6 slump from outside by connecting from deep with 11:20 to play in the first half, shortly after Miles exited the game after taking an uncomfortable hit. After Texas Tech answered with a second-chance layup, the Frogs went on a 17-5 run to take a nine point advantage at the under-8 media timeout, 31-22.
The Red Raiders answered with a 9-2 run out of the break, as Jaylon Tyson and reigning Big 12 Player of the Week De’Vion Harmon started to heat up. But Miles stopped the bleeding with a pair of free throws that kicked off a 9-0 answer by the Horned Frogs. Tech scored the next four but Miles punctuated the first half for the Frogs with a coast-to-coast layup and a left-handed finish at the buzzer, running off the court giving the “too small” celebration as TCU took a 44-35 halftime lead.
Tech came out of the break firing, scoring the first seven points of the second half to cut TCU’s lead to four. But as they had all day, the Frogs answered with a run of their own, taking a nine point lead with 16:34 remaining after Emanuel Miller scored inside.
But, this was very much a game of runs, and every blow that TCU delivered, Tech had an answer for.
Harmon delivered a personal six point run to get his team back within one with just over 13 minutes remaining in the game, and despite the efforts of Miles and Micah Peavy, it would stay tight down the stretch.
Missing Eddie Lampkin inside, the Frogs gave up 44 points in the paint and 12 on second chances. Though they out-rebounded the Red Raiders 33-31, Tech got great opportunities down the stretch as they relentlessly attacked the glass on both ends, taking advantage of the smaller TCU lineup, especially once Xavier Cork got into foul trouble.
But JaKobe Coles, asked to play the 5 with front-court injuries and foul trouble plaguing the Frogs, more than held his own inside, doing enough on defense and getting hot on offense at the most opportune time.
In the final eight minutes, Coles scored 11 of his total 15 points and added a block for good measure. After Tech took their first lead since 17-16 with just over 10 minutes to play in the first half, going up 80-79 with 1:43 to play, he came up big once again.
Miles initially put TCU back on top with a layup off a Baugh assist with 1:14 remaining. After Harmon missed a jumper, Miles tried to find Miller only to see Harmon step in front and take it the other way to put the home team back in front 82-81 with just :12 remaining.
After a timeout, Mark Adams wisely had his team foul twice, since they had only four to the point in the second half, to keep the Frogs out of any semblance of an offensive set. But like he had throughout the second stanza, Coles came up big.
With just four seconds remaining, Coles got position, drawing a shooting foul on Fardaws Aimaq to earn two free throws. Despite a rauceous crowd in a hostile environment, Coles calmly drained both to give TCU the final lead of the game, 83-82. Tech had a good look at a game winning three point attempt, but Harmon couldn’t connect, leaving the Frogs to hang on and secure their 19th win of the season and eighth in Big 12 play.
“We needed that win,” Coles said. “We talked about it all week; it was a win we had to have. Every game we have from this point on is big. We need every one.”
In addition to Miles’ 24 and Coles’ 15, the Frogs got 14 points from Miller and 10 from Cork, despite him being limited to just 13 minutes due to foul trouble. Miller led TCU with 12 rebounds and Baugh dropped nine assists while surrendering just a single turnover.
The Red Raiders were led by Aimaq’s 19 and Harmon’s 18.
Next up for TCU is a home date with No.8 Texas, currently 11-4 in conference play, tied for best record with the Kansas Jayhawks. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. for this pivotal contest.
Melissa Triebwasser, email@example.com