With controversy hanging over the program, TCU put on a scintillating show in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals.
The No. 22-ranked Horned Frogs (21-11) may need another show-stopping performance to reach the championship game as they face No. 7 Texas (24-8) in Friday night’s semifinals in Kansas City, Mo.
Sixth-seeded TCU was dealing with more than preparing to play a game after center Eddie Lampkin Jr., who the school says stepped away from the team, posted text messages online Wednesday in which his mother appeared to accuse Horned Frogs coach Jamie Dixon of player mistreatment as well as making racial comments.
Dixon declined comment — so did the athletic department — but a distraction that easily could have led to a one-and-done tournament experience was sidestepped as the Horned Frogs controlled play in an 80-67 upset of No. 12-ranked Kansas State on Thursday.
“Every guy gave us good minutes, and that’s hard to do against a really good team, so I’m proud of them and how they played,” Dixon said. “We did what we wanted to do. We played really unselfish and good basketball.”
TCU forced Kansas State into 20 turnovers while committing just nine. The Horned Frogs were 11 of 25 from 3-point range while Kansas State was just 7 of 30.
Mike Miles Jr. scored 22 points for his ninth 20-point outing of the season and was joined as the team’s high scorer by Chuck O’Bannon, who reached the 20-point mark for just the second time in three seasons with the Horned Frogs.
“We all came together, knew what we needed to do,” said Miles, who averages a team-leading 17.4 points per game. “When you make shots, everything is better. Chuck started to make shots. I started to make shots. And it gave us energy on the defensive end.”
Second-seeded Texas advanced with a solid 61-47 win over seventh-seeded Oklahoma State.
The Longhorns played without forward Timmy Allen, who remains day to day with a lower-leg injury.
Allen averages 10.5 points and leads Texas in rebounding (5.5 per game). Dylan Disu helped plug the gap by playing a season-high 32 minutes and contributing 11 points and a season-best 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
“Next-man-up mentality, we have been embracing that all year,” Disu said. “We’re sorry our brother isn’t playing but we got things we need to get done.”
Sir’Jabari Rice led Texas with 15 points, but it was defense that fueled the victory. Oklahoma State shot just 26.9 percent from the field and 3 of 21 from behind the arc.
Leading scorer Marcus Carr continues to struggle and had 11 points on 2-of-10 shooting. His second make was an unguarded 3-pointer with a second left that he took instead of running out the clock, prompting a large round of jeers.
Carr, who averages 16.1 points per game, is just 11 of 45 (24.4 percent) from the field and 5 of 27 from long range over the past four games.
“I’m not too concerned,” Carr said. “It’s basketball. I’m just really focused on setting the defensive tone out there, just making sure my guys play hard, and I’m leading the right way and that we win. That’s my main focus. If shots don’t go in, I’m just going to be aggressive and continue to look for my teammates and whoever has it going on.”
Carr averaged 10.5 points on 9-of-32 shooting as Texas split two regular-season meetings with the Horned Frogs. Texas notched a 79-75 home win on Jan. 11, and TCU also won at home, 75-73 on March 1.
–Field Level Media