TCU Out, Texas, Houston in Sweet 16

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TCU’s quest to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time came up short as the sixth-seeded Horned Frogs fell to the third-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs 84-81 on Sunday night in Denver.

TCU gave Gonzaga trouble in the first half, leading by as many as nine and holding a five-point edge at halftime. However, Gonzaga stormed back with 51 points in the second behind a game-high 28 from Richardson’s own Drew Timme.

The Horned Frogs still led with just over 12 minutes left but could not hold off a 13-0 run by the Zags. TCU cut the lead back down several times, including to just four in the final minute but could not get over the hump in the Round of 32 for the second consecutive year.

“It hurt losing in the same round in another close game,” TCU guard Mike Miles Jr. admitted in a postgame press conference. “We lost two years in a row to really good teams.”

“Drew Timme is great,” he continued. “We didn’t really have an answer for him, but that’s what happens when the other team has one of the best players in the country.”

“We played hard. We fought our hardest; [we] just couldn’t end up with a win.”

Miles Jr. led TCU with 24 points, Damion Baugh had 15, and Emanuel Miller had 14.

Baylor was also eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, losing to Creighton 85-76.

The Bears fell behind quickly as they struggled to shoot from beyond the arc (22.7%) and trailed by 10 at the end of the first half.

“They were real physical, made it hard for us to get open, and they fanned out whenever we got in the paint,” Baylor guard LJ Cryer told the media after the game. “They tried to run us off the line, too, and make us shoot more twos. It seemed like that was their game plan, and they executed it.”

While Baylor’s play did improve in the second half, the damage had already been done. The Bears could never bring the deficit under seven points as Creighton reached the Sweet 16 behind Ryan Nembhard’s first career 30-point game.

Trey Alexander, Arthur Kaluma, and Ryan Kalkbrenner also scored double-figures for the Blue Jays, while Cryer led Baylor with 30.

Following the TCU and Baylor losses, only two teams from Texas remain in the NCAA Tournament as the Sweet 16 begins later this week.

Texas heads to the Sweet 16 in the Midwest region and will play Xavier on Friday in Kansas City. The Longhorns survived a late run from Penn State to keep their season alive.

Penn State took a late lead after trailing most of the game with 5:12 left, but Texas went on a 10-0 run to regain control as Dylan Disu led Texas with 28 points.

Houston is also heading to Kansas City as the top seed in the region. The Cougars completed a massive comeback against Auburn on Saturday by holding the Tigers to 23 points in the second half.

If both win, Houston and Texas will face each other for a spot in the Final Four on Sunday.

Joining them are Kansas State, Michigan State, Arkansas, UConn, Florida Atlantic, Tennessee, Gonzaga, UCLA, Alabama, San Diego State, Miami (FL), Princeton, Creighton, and Xavier.

The Sweet 16 begins Thursday night and continues on Friday.

Seven-seed Michigan State (21-12) vs. three-seed Kansas State (25-9), East region, 5:30 p.m. CT
Eight-seed Arkansas (22-13) vs. four-seed UConn (27-8), West region, 6:15 p.m. CT
Nine-seed Florida Atlantic (33-3) vs. four-seed Tennessee (25-10), East region, 8 p.m. CT
Three-seed Gonzaga (30-5) vs. two-seed UCLA (31-5), West region, 8:45 p.m. CT

Five-seed San Diego State (29-6) vs. one-seed Alabama (31-5), South region, 5:30 p.m. CT
Five-seed Miami (27-7) vs. one-seed Houston (33-3), Midwest region, 6:15 p.m. CT
15-seed Princeton (23-8) vs. six-seed Creighton (23-12), South region, 8 p.m. CT
Three-seed Xavier (27-9) vs. two-seed Texas (28-8), Midwest region, 8:45 p.m. CT

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