– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
FORT WORTH, Texas — Late in a tie game and with the prospect of overtime on the horizon, only one player touched the ball on the final offensive possession for TCU – the player head coach Jamie Dixon admitted would want the least to attempt the game-winning shot of the players on the floor.
In this instance, however, the last shall be first, and the Horned Frogs kept their conference home winning streak intact just in the nick of time due to the unlikeliest of heroes.
JD Miller finished a coast-to-coast dash to the basket by nailing a fadeaway jumper with 0.3 seconds remaining, lifting the Horned Frogs to a 70-68 victory over Oklahoma State and to an eighth-consecutive home win in conference play. Before his game-winning exploits, Miller had connected on just two of his 11 field goal attempts.
In other words, just the right man for the job of salvaging the game for the Horned Frogs.
“Probably our last option, but it’s an option,” Dixon said. “It’s something we practiced over and over, but I don’t know if we’ve had it finish like that before.”
It is a finish the Horned Frogs surely do not mind, especially since they found themselves down 57-50 with 5:29 remaining after squandering a 13-point lead earlier in the half. On the final possession, the Cowboys denied the inbounds pass from going into the hands of TCU point guard Alex Robinson, who earlier broke the school’s all-time record for career assists. Miller, who scored the Horned Frogs’ first field goal in the second half, received the inbounds pass in the backcourt and did not stop until he was mobbed by his teammates once his 10-foot shot went through the net.
“To be honest, that play was not supposed to go to me,” Miller said. “It worked out great.”
Desmond Bane led all scorers with 26 points, including hitting five of his six three-pointers in the first half. Robinson finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 assists.
Playing with just seven scholarship players after a series of dismissals earlier in the season, Oklahoma State continued to show fight despite its lack of depth, exemplified by the 24-4 run it went on in the second half to open up its three-possession lead. Yor Anei scored 16 points of his team-leading 20 points in the second half while going a perfect 7-for-7 from the field in the game. Isaac Likekele had 17 points and Thomas Dziagawa, who hit a game-tying three pointer with 5.6 seconds remaining, added 14.
“I am proud of our team, fighting an uphill battle on most nights short-handed,” said Cowboys head coach Mike Boynton. “We didn’t play as well as we needed to in the first half to really put ourselves in position [to win], but I am proud of our kids for the way they fought in the second half to make it a competitive game.”
Oklahoma State has now lost five consecutive conference games as it prepares for a trip to Lawrence and a meeting with No. 13 Kansas on Saturday.
Along with Robinson’s assist achievement, Bane eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier in his TCU career, making him the 37th player in school history to reach that mark.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Wednesday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 21 pictures in total.