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The Hot Corner | TCU Advances in Big 12

Sports

The Frogs as they rolled past Kansas State in the Big 12 quarterfinals | Image by TCU Basketball

Conference basketball tournaments are in full swing this week as teams vie for NCAA Tournament berths.

Here is what happened on the court and behind the scenes Wednesday and Thursday in the Big 12 and around Texas.

THURSDAY

No.22 TCU (21-11, 9-9, tied for fifth in Big 12)

Last Game: No.22 TCU 80, No.12 Kansas State 67

TCU knocked off No.3-seed Kansas State with its best three-point shooting game of the season and suffocating defense. TCU made a season-high 11 three-pointers and forced 20 turnovers. Mike Miles Jr. and Chuck O’Bannon Jr led the Horned Frogs with 22 points each.

Noteworthy: The Horned Frogs advance to the Big 12 semifinals for the second consecutive season and third time since joining the conference in 2012. TCU has never played in the Big 12 Tournament championship.

Next Up: No.22 TCU vs No.7 Texas (24-8, 12-6), 8:30 p.m. CT Friday – Big 12 Semifinals

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No.7 Texas (24-8 12-6, second in Big 12)

Last Game: No.22 TCU 80, No.12 Kansas State 67

After a close start, Texas began to pull away in the final 7:35 of the first half. The Longhorns led by as many as 18 and held Oklahoma State to just 26.9% shooting on the night as they claimed a spot in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.

Noteworthy: Texas played without guard Timmy Allen (10.5 ppg) due to a leg injury and had five players score in double figures.

Next Up: No.7 Texas  vs No.22 TCU (21-11, 9-9), 8:30 p.m. CT Friday – Big 12 Semifinals

***

No. 10 Baylor (22-10, 11-7, tied third in Big 12)

Last Game: Iowa State 78, No. 10 Baylor 72

Baylor lost to Iowa State for the second time in five days. Adam Flagler’s three-pointer in the final seconds of the first half gave Baylor a three-point lead at the break, but Iowa State regained the lead multiple times thanks to its three-point shooting. Baylor’s offense went cold in the final minutes as Iowa State went on a 14-3 run to take complete control.

Noteworthy: Baylor has now lost five of its six Big 12 tournament games against Iowa State. Iowa State becomes the sixth team to beat Baylor three times in one season under current head coach Scott Drew.

Next Up: Baylor awaits its fate in the NCAA Tournament. The Bears entered the day projected as a No. 2 or No. 3 seed by most experts.

***

North Texas (26-6, 16-4, second in Conference USA)
Last Game: North Texas 74, Louisiana Tech 46

UNT dominated its opponent from start to finish for the second consecutive game. The Mean Green led by 16 at halftime and by as many as 28 in the game. Guard Aaron Scott led all scorers with 19 points.

Noteworthy: UNT adds to its single-season program record with its 26th win. The Mean Green advance to the Conference USA Tournament semifinals for the third year in a row.

Next Up: North Texas vs. UAB (24-8,14-6), 2 p.m. CT Friday – Conference USA Semifinals

***

SMU Mustangs (10-22, 5-13, 10th in American Athletic Conference)
Last Game: UCF 76, SMU 70

SMU played one of its best first halves of the season but could not hold on in the second. C.J. Kelly’s three with 10:21 left gave UCF its first lead, and the Knights outscored SMU 11-4 over the final three and half minutes to secure the win. Kelly finished with 21 points, while Zhuric Phelps continued his hot streak with 21 points and seven assists for SMU.

Noteworthy: The Mustangs finished the season with their first losing record since the 2018-19 season. SMU has not been to the NCAA Tournament since losing to USC in the first round in 2017.

Next Up: SMU’s season is likely over with a 10-22 final record.

***

WEDNESDAY

Texas A&M – Corpus Christi (23-10, 14-4, first in Southland Conference)

Last Game: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 75, Northwestern State 71

The Islanders battled back from an early 26-10 deficit to knock off Northwestern State in the Southland Conference tournament final. Tied at 31 at the half, the teams went back and forth with five lead changes in the second half. Demarcus Sharp’s layup in the final minute brought Northwestern State within one, but Trevian Thompson answered with a jumper for Corpus Christi.

Noteworthy: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi wins the Southland Conference tournament and clinches a bid to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season and third time overall. The Islanders project as a No.16-seed.

Next Up: A&M-Corpus Christi will find out who it plays during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show at 5 p.m. CT Sunday.

***

Texas Tech (16-16, 5-13, tied for last in Big 12)

Last Game: West Virginia 78, Texas Tech 62

A 9-2 lead quickly became a 29-24 deficit for Texas Tech as West Virginia found its footing over the latter stages of the first half. The Red Raiders trailed by as many as 21 as they struggled with turnovers against West Virginia’s aggressive defense. Freshman guard Pop Isaacs led Texas Tech with 15 points, while four of West Virginia’s starters scored in double figures.

Noteworthy: Assistant coach Corey Williams stepped in as interim head coach for Texas Tech, replacing Mark Adams, who resigned on Wednesday night.

Next Up: Texas Tech could play in a lesser postseason tournament like the NIT. The fields for all postseason tournaments will be announced Sunday.

***

Oklahoma (15-17, 5-13, tied for last in Big 12)

Last Game: Oklahoma State 57, Oklahoma 49

Oklahoma shot just 25% from the floor and trailed by as many as 15 as it saw its season likely end on Wednesday. The Sooners had just eight points over the first 12 minutes of the game, and Oklahoma State continued to add to its lead throughout the game, only ever allowing the Sooners to cut it down to six points.

Noteworthy: Oklahoma lost all three matchups against Oklahoma State this season.

Next Up: Oklahoma’s season is likely over after finishing 15 -17. There is a slim chance Oklahoma could play in a lesser postseason tournament.

***

Other college basketball notes:

— Kansas head coach Bill Self will miss the Big 12 Tournament after being hospitalized with an illness.

— Former Texas head coach Chris Beard has emerged as a candidate for the head coaching job at Ole Miss, ESPN reported

— Texas Tech center Fardaws Aimaq is entering the transfer portal. Aimaq transferred from Utah Valley in the offseason and averaged 11.1 points and 7.9 rebounds in 11 games, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported.

— Fourteen automatic bids for the NCAA Tournament have been claimed. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Southland) and Montana State (Big Sky) joined the field with wins in their respective conference tournament championships Wednesday.

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