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January 16, 2013TCU played fine Wednesday night, fine enough to win, maybe, but then the 10:22 mark of the first half rolled around and Kansas State showed up.
And reality set in.
Following a Garlon Green missed jumper, Will Spradling drained a three-pointer and Wildcats took a 13-10 lead, one they wouldn't lose the rest of the game en route to a 67-54 win over the Horned Frogs.
"I don't know if K-State woke up -- that's basketball," TCU coach Trent Johnson said. "We hit some shots we haven't been hitting. (Kansas State) never lost poise."
Rodney McGruder scored a game-high 21 points for Kansas State (14-2 overall, 3-0 Big 12) ,which shot 48 percent from the field against the best defense in the Big 12.
It would've been easy to think opposite Wednesday night, as Kansas State limited the Frogs most of the night. TCU (9-8, 0-4) struggled to find an offensive rhythm and shot only 37.5 percent.
"They're skilled, they're strong," Johnson said. "We were going to have to be in a situation at the 10-minute mark down two or three for us to have a chance down the stretch."
Adrick McKinney led TCU with 18 points and nine rebounds. Kyan Anderson scored 10.
TCU led 8-2 early following three-pointers from Anderson and Charles Hill Jr. within the first three minute. But the Frogs would make only one more three-pointer the rest of the rest of the game, as Kansas State went on to make nine shots from behind the arc.
By halftime, the Wildcats held a 38-25 lead, which was aided by Martavious Irving's layup at the buzzer. Kansas State made consecutive three-pointers to begin the second half.
The Wildcats led 60-40 by the 8:08 mark.
The Frogs' defensive letdowns cost them, Mckinney said.
"We had breakdowns, and we can't do that against good teams," he said.
The loss was TCU's fourth in a row, and fourth Big 12 loss of more than nine points. The Frogs simply aren't a team ready to play on Kansas State's level, Johnson said.
"It's all about Kansas State," he said. "We're not ready to compete, we're not ready to play, with a team of that caliber right now."
Still, Johnson said Wednesday night gave a glimpse as to what kind of team -- what kind of program -- he plans to build TCU into.
"That's how we're going to be, sooner than later," he said. "I'm not going to put a time on this year. (Kansas State) reminds me of the good teams I've had. That's how the game's supposed to be played. That's what the people here at TCU are going to see sooner than later. Obviously, our talent level isn't where it needs to be and all that other kind of nonsense, but we'll get there."
In the meantime, the options for TCU are slim, McKinney said.
Keep fighting, or keep losing.
"We got a lot of people down so we can't afford to not fight," the senior said. "If we don't fight, we can't win."
TCU is back in action Saturday at home against Iowa State. Tipoff is set for 12:30 p.m.