FORT WORTH (AP) – Alex Robinson insists that TCU never worried while trailing most of the game. Once the Horned Frogs went ahead, they stayed in front to get their earliest Big 12 victory — and coach Jamie Dixon’s first.
Robinson scored eight of his 18 points in a second-half run for the lead, and senior big man Karviar Shepherd had some key plays down the stretch for the Horned Frogs in a 60-57 win over struggling Oklahoma on Tuesday night.
“We just stuck together and we fought as a team,” Robinson said. “Once we got the lead, we never looked back.”
The Frogs (12-2, 1-1 Big 12) never led until Shepherd’s two free throws with 3:38 left to make it 56-54. After an Oklahoma miss, Robinson made a floater, and Shepherd then made another basket with 2 minutes left.
This is TCU’s fifth season in the Big 12, and the first time to win one of their first two conference games.
“Always good to get your first conference win, and I liked how we did it down the stretch,” said Dixon, the former Horned Frogs point guard (in the Southwest Conference) and former Pittsburgh coach. “There’s also value of winning a game like that, so we’ve got to use that to our benefit.”
Robinson’s layup with 13:45 left ignited the 21-6 run that put TCU in the lead to stay. The Frogs capped that spurt with 10 consecutive points, Shepherd scored six of his eight points then.
Kameron McGusty had 11 points to lead Oklahoma (6-7, 0-2), which lost its fifth straight game. Darrion Strong-Moore and Matt Freeman each scored 10.
McGusty’s 3-pointer with 50 seconds left got the Sooners within 60-57, and TCU then missed a jumper as the shot clock expired.
Oklahoma appeared to have a turnover with 4.2 seconds, but TCU freshman Jaylen Fisher couldn’t keep the ball in bounds. After a timeout, Freeman’s potential game-tying shot was deflected by JD Miller and came up well short.
“I liked our production for 35 minutes, but TCU did a great job down the stretch. Robinson was terrific taking the game over,” Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. “We’ll get better from this. … We’ve got a lot of things to work on. We’ve got a group that will continue to work at it, and we’ve got to make progress quickly.”
Oklahoma: These young Sooners, with seven freshmen and two of them starting, are a long away from another NCAA Final Four like last year’s senior-led team. They had nine-point lead in both halves. Oklahoma lost its Big 12 opener 76-50 at home against second-ranked Baylor, and things certainly won’t get any easier.
TCU: Like Oklahoma, the Frogs were coming off a conference-opening loss to a top-five team — falling to No. 3 Kansas 86-80. With their comeback, they avoided consecutive losses for the first time. The Sooners are one of four Big 12 teams Dixon had never faced.
TCU had 13 blocked shots, with seven different players getting at least one. … Oklahoma’s Khadeem Lattin had two blocks, giving him 134 in his career. That broke his tie for fourth in school history. Wayman Tisdale is third with 209, and Al Beal’s school record is 230.
The only time TCU has had a better start to the season was two seasons ago, with 13 straight wins before getting into Big 12 play.
Oklahoma plays Saturday at Kansas State, with Kruger returning to his alma mater and where he was a two-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year. The Sooners play three of four at home after that.
The Horned Frogs play three of their next four games on the road, starting Saturday at No. 7 West Virginia.
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