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No. 1 Houston shuts down TCU in 60-45 victory in Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kelvin Sampson knows how to win a Big 12 Tournament, leading Oklahoma to three straight titles in the early 2000s.

He has Houston two wins away from its own.

The Cougars ramped up their suffocating defense on TCU, Emanuel Sharp had 14 points and Big 12 player of the year Jamal Shead scored 12, and the No. 1 team in the nation rolled to a 60-45 victory on Thursday in the quarterfinal round of its first tournament in its new league.

“They're all good. All the teams are really good,” said Sampson, whose team was beaten soundly on the boards by the bigger Horned Frogs yet still won with ease. “You win by 15, you move on to the next one, man.”

In this case No. 25 Texas Tech, which romped to a victory over No. 20 BYU earlier in the day.

“Texas Tech is good enough to beat us,” Sampson said. “We're going to have to play a lot better than we did today.”

Hard to imagine it on the defensive end, where the No. 1 seed Cougars (29-3) held eighth-seeded TCU without a point for nearly 10 minutes to start the game and was never threatened the rest of the way in winning its 10th consecutive game.

Micah Peavy had 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Horned Frogs (21-12). Leading scorer Emanuel Miller followed up his 26-point performance in a second-round win over Oklahoma by scoring just three points on 1-for-10 shooting.

TCU wound up going 17 of 73 from the field (23.3%) and 2 of 20 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“It wasn't our day to make shots,” Horned Frogs coach Jamie Dixon said. “I don't know how many were tough shots. I thought there were layups, we had a couple of kickout 3s off rebounds. It's probably something to do with them, because you can't take away from what they've done game after game. Their numbers are off the charts.”

Longtime rivals in the old Southwest Conference, the Cougars and Horned Frogs were meeting for the first time in the Big 12 Tournament — otherwise known as a neutral floor, where Houston had never lost in eight other games with TCU.

The Cougars never left a doubt that it would be nine.

Fresh off a 30-point blowout of Kansas, the regular-season Big 12 champs scored the first 16 points of the game, shutting down Dixon's team with the kind of in-your-shorts defense that has become the Cougars' hallmark over the years.

TCU missed its first 16 field-goal attempts and did not score until Peavy's bucket with 10:25 left in the first half.

“That's a whole other level of not making shots,” Dixon said.

Even when Houston went through its own offensive dry spell in the first half, it continually hounded the Horned Frogs. They were 3 for 23 with six turnovers at one point, and during one possession, they missed four consecutive shots at the rim.

TCU trailed 31-15 at halftime, missed its first eight shots of the second half and never threatened the rest of the way.

“The past four years I've been here,” Shead said, “we've approached every game the same. We said at the beginning of the year the Big 12 was a lot harder competition at a consistent level, but our preparation is usually the same. It's just about going out there and executing what we work on.”

UP NEXT

TCU should be safely in the NCAA Tournament field for the third consecutive year.

Houston routed the Red Raiders 77-54 in January, when Shead poured in 29 points in the win.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball