Drew Timme, Gonzaga Bulldogs oust TCU Horned Frogs from NCAA tournament
With a chance to make history, TCU came up short in a thriller against Gonzaga in the Round of 32 of the NCAA tournament on Sunday.
The Bulldogs defeated the Horned Frogs 84-81 at Ball Arena as TCU is still seeking its first appearance in the Sweet 16..
The game lived up to the billing. Gonzaga held onto a 68-64 lead with 4:08 remaining. Drew Timme hit a big three-point play to extend the lead to 71-64 with 3:47 left in the game.
With their season hanging in the balance TCU had one more run in them as buckets from Mike Miles Jr. and Micah Peavy cut Gonzaga’s lead to 73-68 with under 2:30 remaining. Damion Baugh cut through the lane for a nice running layup to make it a three-point game, but Timme immediately had an answer.
Baugh had a chance to cut it back to three, but missed the front end of a one-and-one at the free throw line. After hitting two free throws, the game almost seemed over with Gonzaga leading 77-70 with just over 60 seconds remaining, but JaKobe Coles drained a long 3-pointer to keep hope alive with 45.6 seconds remaining.
In the end, Gonzaga made enough free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Miles vs. Timme
The matchup between Miles and Timme didn’t disappoint as the stars came out firing. Timme led Gonzaga with 11 points in the first half while Miles virtually matched him with 10 points of his own. Both faced double teams the entire night with Gonzaga trying to trap Miles on every ball screen while Timme got the same treatment from the Horned Frogs on every post touch.
In the second half the battle continued as Gonzaga battled back to take their first lead, 46-45, since early in the first half. Miles answered with a corner 3-pointer, but then Timme tied the game right back up with a post bucket. Timme briefly got the better of Miles, swatting his layup off the backcourt, but Miles wouldn’t be deterred.
He hit a pull-up jumper and then a stepback 3-pointer to make it 55-50. However, Miles went without a point for a nine minute stretch while Timme scored eight to help Gonzaga retake control of the game. Timme finished with a game-high 28 points while Miles had 24.
Despite leading most of the first 30 minutes of the game, The Horned Frogs chose the wrong time to go cold on offense. After taking a 55-50 lead, the Horned Frogs wouldn’t score for nearly four minutes.
Meanwhile Gonzaga used a 13-0 run to take a 63-55 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining forcing a Jamie Dixon timeout. TCU was clearly in danger at this point as the Bulldogs 3-point shooting had come to life and the Horned Frogs had numerous players in foul trouble.
TCU answered with a quick 5-0 burst with a corner 3-pointer from Damion Baugh and a nice spinning layup by Emanuel Miller to make it 63-61. However, after a missed 3-pointer with a chance to take the lead, the Horned Frogs allowed Malachi Smith to drain another 3-pointer with 6:37 remaining. His second 3-pointer of the half set the stage for a frantic final close to the game.
In the end Gonzaga had better execution in the second half. TCU went just 2-of-7 from the free throw line in the second half while the Bulldogs went 7-of-10. After making just two 3-pointers in the first half, Gonzaga made six in the second half, one more than TCU did. Gonzaga outscored TCU 17-7 in fast break points in the second half as well.
The ideal start
The Horned Frogs came out focused and dialed in the first 20 minutes as TCU led most of the first half. Gonzaga led 6-4 as Timme scored the Bulldogs’ first six points, but an O’Bannon 3-pointer would put TCU ahead and the Horned Frogs didn’t look back.
With a stifling defense that limited Timme’s supporting cast, TCU jumped to a 25-15 lead. Gonzaga began to battle back as Strawther knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 29-24. The Bulldogs grabbed two offensive rebounds on that possession to set up his long distance shot and forced a timeout by Dixon.
Buckets from Baugh and Miles out of the timeout ended the mini-run Gonzaga was trying to put together. The Bulldogs made one more push leaning on the free throw line as they made the most of TCU being in the bonus. A free throw by Strawther made it 35-33 with 1:10 left in the half.
Baugh came up big with a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to give TCU a 38-33 lead at the break. The Horned Frogs held Gonzaga to just 36% shooting and 2-of-14 from the 3-point line.