FORT WORTH (AP) – Vladimir Brodziansky scored 11 straight points for TCU late in the second half and Jaylen Fisher hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer in the final minute as the Horned Frogs defeated Illinois State 80-71 on Monday.
Brodziansky finished with 24 points on 7-of-8 shooting for the Horned Frogs (4-0), keeping new coach Jamie Dixon undefeated at his alma mater. The 4-0 record is the best start for any first-year coach in TCU history.
“This was a very good win against a very good team,” Dixon said. “We’re making great progress. You can feel it building. You can feel it happening. And you can see it happening.”
It was a back-and-forth game that featured seven ties and 11 lead changes, many of them down the stretch. Illinois State (1-2) led for much of the second half until Brodziansky took over, getting open look after open look in the paint. In one stretch, he scored 14 of 17 points for TCU as it built a three-point lead.
“My teammates were finding me in the open spot, and I just had to finish it,” Brodziansky said. “I was just 2 feet from the basket, so I had an easy job to finish it.”
The Redbirds fought back behind a 3-pointer from Paris Lee and a pair of free throws from MiKyle McIntosh to take a 70-69 lead. With the score tied at 71, Fisher, a freshman point guard, hit a 3-pointer with 41 seconds left to give TCU the lead for good.
TCU outscored Illinois State 34-18 in the paint and had a 43-19 advantage from bench players. Fisher finished with 15 points and five assists, while point guard Alex Robinson added 14 points and six assists.
Guard Kenrich Williams had 13 points and 10 rebounds for TCU in his first start after missing all of last season with a knee injury. He played 20 minutes Friday in his first action back.
McIntosh had 20 points and nine rebounds for Illinois State.
Illinois State: Lee, a senior guard, was a difference-maker against TCU’s young backcourt. Lee is the Missouri Valley Conference’s active career leader in assists and steals. He had seven assists and two steals against TCU, to go along with 13 points.
TCU: After making at least 10 3-pointers in each of their last two games, the Horned Frogs cooled off against the Redbirds. They were just 1-of-3 from deep in the first half, and made just six 3s overall.
NO BUZZER BEATER
Illinois State’s Keyshawn Evans hit a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left to close out the first half, but TCU’s Robinson nearly answered. His running 3 from just inside the midcourt line initially counted, but the officials waived it off after checking the replay, indicating it came just after the halftime buzzer sounded.
The game’s most spectacular play came in the second half, when Evans and Phil Fayne connected on an alley-oop. Evans was about 25 feet out when he tossed the lob to Fayne, who came from the baseline for the dunk.
Illinois State: The Redbirds have three straight home games on the schedule, beginning Sunday against Ferris State, followed by matchups with IUPUI and New Mexico.
TCU: After starting the season with four straight games at home, the Horned Frogs head to Las Vegas, Nevada for the Global Sports Classic. They play UNLV on Friday and either Western Kentucky or Washington on Saturday. They may end up with consecutive games against Washington, as the Huskies come to Fort Worth on Nov. 30.
(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)