TCU gets healthier as No. 19 Iowa State visits
TCU has been good at home this season and will need to continue that trend if it wants to make a repeat run into the NCAA Tournament.
The Horned Frogs are 11-3 at home, including a 4-2 mark in league play, and they are expecting help in Saturday's game against No. 19 Iowa State with the return of a key player.
TCU (17-9, 5-8 Big 12) is back home in Forth Worth after a 68-61 loss at Oklahoma State on Monday, its third straight setback. Alex Robinson and Desmond Bane each scored 19 points, while JD Miller added 11 for the Horned Frogs, who have lost five of their past seven.
It hasn't helped that the Horned Frogs' second-leading scorer, forward Kouat Noi, has missed the past two games with a left ankle injury. TCU struggled on offense in both games.
Noi is averaging 14.8 points per game and has scored in double figures in 18 of 20 games he's played. He is expected to return for Saturday's game, TCU coach Jamie Dixon said Wednesday.
"We'll get Kouat back I would think in the next one," Dixon said in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Obviously he makes us a different team. We just had bad timing with the injury."
Noi racked up 17 points in TCU's 93-83 upset win at Iowa State earlier this month.
The Horned Frogs have failed to reach the 70-point mark in seven of Big 12 games, going 1-6 in those contests.
"Hey, we've got to go win some games," Dixon said. "Eight (Big 12 wins) made it (to the NCAA Tournament) last year. We've got five games left, so we've got to go win three."
The Cyclones have some work cut out for themselves as well, with losses in two of their past three games, including a 73-69 setback at home to short-handed Baylor on Tuesday. Marial Shayok poured in 20 points for Iowa State (19-7, 8-5 Big 12), and Lindell Wigginton hit for 10 points.
Baylor out-rebounded Iowa State 44-28 in the upset, with 18 of the Bears' boards coming on the offensive end. That stat had Cyclones coach Steve Prohm questioning his team's toughness.
"If you see a write-up on our team, it's inconsistency and toughness," Prohm said after the loss. "It's on me. I'm not one to talk about my guys. It's on me. Not tough enough, and I've got to figure out ways. We're inconsistent, and we're not tough enough right now to take the next step."
The Cyclones led 63-62 with 6:22 minutes to play but missed their next nine shots and turned over the ball on another possession, allowing Baylor to escape with the win.
"You're not supposed to lose at home," said Iowa State fifth-year senior Nick Weiler-Babb. "A place like this, it has a history of winning at home. We're not doing any justice to it. It's embarrassing."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 22, 2019