By Melissa Triebwasser
Frogs Today staff writer
With the opportunity to finish above .500 in Big 12 play for the first time in front of them, TCU fell flat on both ends of the floor Saturday in Norman, dropping the regular season finale to the Sooners 74-60.
It was going to be a tough day from tip-off, and TCU was never truly in it, trailing for more than 39 minutes of game time.
The Frogs connected on just one of their first seven attempts while Oklahoma went six straight without a miss to start the game, and stayed hot through the first half. Led by their two star seniors, Tanner Groves, who had 11 in the first half on his way to a season-high 23 for the game, and Grant Sherfield, who was aggressive and accurate on his way to eight early, the Sooners found themselves with open looks throughout the first 20 minutes. The absence of Eddie Lampkin, who stayed in Fort Worth to get treatment for a back issue according to the broadcast, was especially noticeable on defense, as the Sooners scored 16 points in the paint and six on second-chance attempts on their way to a 38-21 first half advantage.
The 21 first half points was a season-low for the Horned Frogs.
Much as they have done consistently this season when faced with a second-half deficit, the Frogs tried to make a run.
Though they cut into the lead multiple times, they couldn’t quite get over the hump and into single-digits. The Sooners continued to hold them off despite their shooting regressing to the mean in the second stanza, with much of their success predicated on rebounding and beating the Frogs to loose balls. Groves was a massive spark offensively, leading all players with 11 free throw attempts, connecting on eight, and pulling down several contested rebounds down the stretch.
And just as the Frogs looked like they might will their way back into, Sherfield caught fire, scoring seven straight as the clock dipped below five minutes to play to put things out of reach for TCU. He had gone more than 20 minutes between buckets before the scoring streak, but would finish with a 20 spot in his last appearance on his home floor.
After scoring just one point in the Frogs’ win over No. 9 Texas Wednesday, Miles was more aggressive in the finale Saturday. But Oklahoma was keyed on him defensively much like the Longhorns were, and while he had 17 every one was hard work. The best job the Sooners did defensively was limited his ability as a playmaker, as the guard had zero assists and the Frogs as a team had just seven.
TCU actually outshot Oklahoma in the second half, but the hole was too deep to dig out of by that point. Damion Baugh was the only other Frog in double figures with 13, and Shahada Wells added nine on a trio of three pointers. TCU was out-rebounded 40-26 and outscored 34-20 in the paint. The Frogs won the turnover battle 13-5, but the Sooners turned all five of those turnovers into points on the other end.
With the loss, the Frogs finish 9-9 in conference play, the second time they have reached the .500 mark in the league. They are 20-10 in the regular season with a chance to add to their win total next week in Kansas City, where they will open the Big 12 Tournament Thursday as the No. 6 seed.
Not much time to lick their wounds for TCU, who will try and regain some positive momentum before Selection Sunday, awaiting their seeding fate for March Madness.
Melissa Triebwasser, email@example.com