By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
TCU fell to Oklahoma State 79-73 on Saturday afternoon, dropping to 17-6 on the season and 6-4 in conference play.
Emanuel Miller led the Frogs with 17 points, pacing five players in double figures. JaKobe Coles added 15 points, while Shahada Wells contributed 13.
The Frogs trailed by as many as 19 points, and spent the bulk of the game playing from behind. TCU didn’t lead until a pair of Miller free throws put the Frogs ahead 61-59 with 5:08 left in the second half.
Fast starts have been the key to TCU’s success this season, but Saturday represented exactly the opposite, as TCU lacked any sense of offensive rhythm at the start.
Dribbles stalled out, passes were late, and players weren’t moving without the ball. The Frogs missed their first eight shots from the floor while turning the ball over four times, allowing Oklahoma State to get out to a 16-2 lead in the first five minutes.
The Cowboys continued to pour it on, leading by as many as 16 points in the first half and carrying a 43-29 lead into halftime.
As the second half got underway, it appeared to be more of the same. Oklahoma State scored five straight points out of the break to extend their lead to 19.
Something clicked for the Frogs, though, following a 3-point shot by Miller. His shot started a 20-3 run by the Frogs that pulled them to within two at the 11:52 mark of the second half.
From there, Oklahoma State’s lead hovered around two to seven points, until another Frogs’ run eventually gave them the lead.
As happens so often with big comebacks though, the team that exerted itself ran out of steam. Oklahoma State countered TCU’s second run with a 12-4 run of their own, reclaiming the lead. The Cowboys managed to hold off the Frogs the rest of the way, as TCU was never able to get the lead again.
Once again, TCU was without leading scorer Mike Miles Jr., who missed his second full game since hyperextending his right knee. The team is hopeful that Miles will return soon, but they also need to find some consistency on offense in his absence.
Miles presents a significant defensive issue for opponents, who have to choose whether to focus on stopping him, or stopping Damion Baugh.
While Wells has scored well in Miles’ stead – he’s averaging 12.4 points per game over TCU’s last five – opposing defenses have not felt the need to spend as much time planning to stop him. Instead, the theme for Oklahoma State was to clutter passing lanes and win the physical battle, both of which they did effectively for the bulk of Saturday.
Eddie Lampkin also missed Saturday’s contest as he continues to work his way back from a high ankle sprain. Lampkin played eight minutes during TCU’s midweek game against West Virginia, but was clearly not fully healthy. The coaching staff decided, due to Oklahoma State’s lack of interior size, to give Lampkin more time to rehab his injury.
Ultimately, the Frogs need to find a way to tread water in conference play while Miles and Lampkin get healthy. This team has shown they can beat the top teams in the country when they’re at full strength, so now the key is to simply return to that.
TCU’s next game comes in Manhattan, Ks. on Tuesday, where they will take on Kansas State.
Jamie Plunkett, firstname.lastname@example.org