Special to RattleandHumSports.com
The Frogs improved to 8-4 overall while snapping a three-game road skid dating back to last season. The Owls dropped to 3-8 overall.
TCU appeared ready to coast to an easy win while building an 18-point advantage early in the second half, but Rice was able to fight back on its home court. The Owls, who were held to only two points in the final 10 minutes of the opening half, caught fire from the floor following intermission. The squad made 10-of-12 field-goal attempts out of the locker room and posted a 15-3 run fueled by a barrage of 3-pointers to cut the deficit to just five points six minutes into the half.
The Frog lead dwindled to as few as one point following a Julian DeBose layup with 11.9 seconds left. Sophomore guard Kyan Anderson pushed the edge back to two points by hitting 1-of-2 free throws after being fouled on the in-bounds, but the Owls regained the ball for one last chance. The Frogs stood up to the defensive challenge on Rice’s last possession, forcing an off-balance shot at the buzzer by guard Tamir Jackson that glanced off the rim.
Green was TCU’s go-to threat on the offensive end of the court, especially in the first. He made 10-of-16 attempts from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, and also went 8-of-12 at the charity stripe. He totaled 18 points in the first half alone while helping the Frogs build a 14-point advantage at intermission.
Green’s scoring total surpassed his previous best of 24 points set exactly a year ago to the day during a home win over Grambling State (Dec. 22, 2011). It marked his third performance this season with 20 or more points and the third consecutive game he led the Frogs in scoring.
Senior forward Adrick McKinney also continued his solid recent play, posting his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow senior forward Connell Crossland just missed a double-double of his own with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds. The combination of Crossland and McKinney alone outrebounded the Owls, as TCU finished the game with a whopping 38-17 overall edge on the glass.
Sophomore guard Kyan Anderson scored nine points in limited duty, as he sat much of the contest in foul trouble. Sophomore guard Chris Zurcher helped pick up the slack by playing a career-high 26 minutes and turning in five points. Anderson, Zurcher and Green combined to go 6-of-8 from beyond the arc for TCU.
Jackson led a group of three Owls in double figures with 25 points, including 16 in the second half. He did much of his damage at the charity stripe, hitting 10-of-14 free throws. DeBose (12) and forward Seth Gearhart (11) also reached double figures in the scorebook.
TCU moved out to a large early advantage thanks in part to a fast start by Green. The Houston native scored eight quick points and Anderson added a long trey to put the Frogs up seven, 13-6, just over seven minutes into the contest. Rice responded with a 7-0 run of its own midway through the half to knot the game back up at 18-18 before TCU appeared to seize total control.
The Frogs scored 16 of the final 18 points of the half, holding the Owls to just a Bahrom Firozgary basket in the final 10 minutes. Green again got things rolling for TCU, leading an 8-0 Frog run with three field goals, the last of which he finished off at the stripe for a 3-point play and a 26-18 Frog lead. Following Firozgary’s bucket, TCU compiled another 8-0 run to finish off the half, with four points each from Crossland and McKinney.
TCU scored seven of the first 10 points to open the second half before the Owls got their offense in order. Rice shot 63.2 percent from the floor in the second stanza, but it just wasn’t enough to offset a 32.0 percent effort in the opening half that helped the Frogs build their big lead.
TCU takes the next few days off for the Holiday Break before returning to action for its final non-conference matchup next Saturday against Mississippi Valley State. The Frogs and Delta Devils tip off at 2 p.m. at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in a contest that will be televised live by FOX Sports Southwest.