By Drew Davison
Frogs Today special correspondent
FORT WORTH — No. 17 TCU basketball didn’t play its best Saturday against No. 25 Iowa State. The Horned Frogs got off to another slow start. They missed free throws. They turned it over. The list goes on.
Somehow, though, the Horned Frogs found themselves in position to win late, erasing an eight-point deficit in the final two minutes. However, that comeback fell short when Iowa State’s Gabe Kalscheur hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left.
Iowa State 69, TCU 67.
“It was a good shot. It was good defense,” TCU guard Mike Miles Jr. said. “He had a man in his face. I guess he got the shot he liked.”
Yes, Kalscheur did on a day he missed his first five 3-point attempts. But the 30 percent 3-point shooter connected when it mattered most, ending TCU’s 11-game winning streak.
“Congratulations to them. The kid hit a tough shot,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “We guarded it as well as you could guard it. The problem was we just didn’t come up with the loose ball on three separate occasions prior to.”
TCU was trailing 66-58 with two minutes left, but went on a 9-0 run to take the lead. Miles put the Frogs ahead for the first time since early in the first half when he knocked down 2 of 3 free throws for a 67-66 lead with 23.1 seconds left.
Iowa State (12-2) had a couple of shot attempts blocked on its next possession by Miles and Xavier Cork. Cork came up with the loose ball following his block, and tried to save it as he was falling out of bounds. But Cork’s pass went out of bounds off a TCU teammate, giving Iowa State its last chance.
Kalscheur delivered as the Cyclones are off to a 3-0 start in Big 12 play for the first time since the 1999-00 season. Kalscheur felt confident with his shot even though he’d struggled most of the day.
“It felt good,” he said. “I had enough space, got it up and connected.”
For TCU, it’s a disappointing performance following its thrilling 88-87 victory Wednesday at Baylor.
The Frogs missed 12 free throws (16 of 28), were outrebounded 32-27 and had 18 turnovers. Most telling, Iowa State dominated in points in the paint, outscoring TCU 44-20. Those close baskets are a big reason why the Cyclones finished the day shooting 52.5 percent from the field.
“They just scored way too easy throughout,” Dixon said. “The rebounding, whatever the reason was, they were the more physical team. … But I was proud of how we responded, how we battled back and certainly some performances and particular plays down the stretch that our guys made.”
Simply being in the game late is a testament to what this team is capable of. The Frogs don’t go away easily, regardless of how things are going.
“It showed we can play with anybody,” Miles said. “We didn’t play our best game on either defense or offense. We shot bad from the line. We had a lot of turnovers. We still only lost by two. It shows how good of a team we are.”
Miles finished with a team-high 18 points, including 15 points in the second half. Miles played just 10 minutes in the opening half after picking up two fouls early.
Frogs guard Damion Baugh was the only other player in double digits, scoring 17 points with a team-leading seven rebounds.
TCU returns to action Wednesday night as it travels to No. 6 Texas (13-2, 2-1 Big 12). Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
Asked about flushing this game and moving on to the Longhorns, Baugh said: “For sure. It’s the Big 12. We’ve got to move on.”