TCU looks to avenge one-point loss to Oklahoma
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Two weeks ago, both Oklahoma and TCU were soaring entering Big 12 play.
Now, as the teams prepare for their second meeting Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., only one team has continued on course.
After starting the season on a 12-game winning streak, the TCU Horned Frogs are 1-3 in Big 12 play. Their only win during that stretch came in overtime at Baylor.
The No. 16 Horned Frogs (13-3) have lost those games by a combined six points, including one-point losses to Oklahoma and Texas.
TCU coach Jamie Dixon said it's time for results.
"We can keep saying we're a good team, but our league is built for good teams to get losses," Dixon said. "You're going to run into a really tough stretch, really 18 games of good basketball. We've hit it early. We're hurting because of it. We know what the difference is -- a layup, a blockout, a rebound. It's the difference between being 4-0 and 0-4."
On the other side, Oklahoma has largely continued on its trajectory, going 3-1 to start conference play and improve to 13-2 and rise into the top 10. This week, the Sooners are No. 9.
Oklahoma hasn't needed to hold on for dear life since the first meeting Dec. 30, when TCU's Kenrich Williams missed a 3-pointer with three seconds to play to give the Sooners a 90-89 victory.
For the Horned Frogs to have success this time around, they need to contain freshman phenom Trae Young. The Sooners' point guard had 39 points and 14 assists in the teams' first meeting. Young leads the nation in scoring (29.2 points per game) and assists (10.2).
The path TCU is on now is one Oklahoma remembers well.
While the Sooners are 3-1 in games decided by 10 or fewer points this season, they were 5-11 in such games a year ago.
"It always comes down to -- whether you're old or young, it comes down to someone making a shot or getting a stop," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. "(TCU) could well be 4-0, just a shot goes in or doesn't go in and that's the way it is every year. But TCU is very good. They've got experienced players."
Oklahoma is trying to get back into the thick of the Big 12 title race after last week's loss at West Virginia.
The Sooners are tied for second place, along with Texas Tech and Kansas, one game behind the Mountaineers.
TCU is just trying to hold on as it works to make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998 and only the eighth in school history.
The latest impediment to that was Wednesday's loss at Texas, when Jaylen Fisher drove to the basket in the final seconds of the second overtime period with a chance to win it. But his layup attempt went off the rim and out to give the Longhorns the upset.
"There was plenty of time," Dixon said. "You could get to the basket. It was really good execution. We didn't get the finish, but that's what basketball is. You want to execute right and the numbers will add up."
Updated January 12, 2018