Senior forward Craig Williams
Feb. 11, 2012
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FORT WORTH--TCU won another close one at home Saturday, downing visiting Colorado State, 75-71, to win its sixth straight game at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Senior forward Craig Williams returned from a one-game absence to lead the Horned Frogs with 20 points.
The win moved TCU to 14-10 overall and evened the squad's Mountain West record at 4-4. TCU is now 11-2 at home in 2011-12. CSU dropped to 15-8 overall and into a tie with the Frogs in the MW standings at 4-4.
TCU found itself trailing by two points, 69-67, with three minutes remaining until it took control of the contest with yet another late clutch performance. The squad rattled off six straight points while holding CSU to only a pair of free throws in the final 3:18 to win its school-record 11th game this season by six points or fewer.
Williams got things started with a tip-in off his own missed shot underneath to tie the game at the 2:25 mark, then added a pair of free throw two possessions later to put TCU up for good. Freshman guard Kyan Anderson, held scoreless to that point, provided the game's biggest play inside the final minute, recording a steal from behind against Ram guard Wes Eikmeier, who then fouled Anderson to send him to the free-throw line. The Fort Worth native sank both shots to push the advantage to four, 73-69.
Eikmeier hit two free throws with 12 seconds remaining to cut the lead to one possession, but senior guard Hank Thorns iced the game with two more clutch shots at the stripe after being fouled on the in-bounds play.
Williams led a TCU 3-point barrage after sitting out the team's Wednesday road loss at SMU due to injury, hitting 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc. TCU finished the evening tying its season high with 12 treys on 27 attempts. Williams made 7-of-11 shots overall from the floor, while his four 3-pointers matched his season total entering Saturday's game.
Sharing in Williams' long range success were Thorns, who went 3-of-9, and senior guard J.R. Cadot and junior guard/forward Garlon Green, who both registered a pair of treys. Thorns finished the contest with 15 points, six assists and four rebounds, while Cadot totaled 14 points, seven boards and three assists. Green totaled 10 points. Thorns extended his career-long streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 12.
The Frogs received an impressive outing from junior forward Connell Crossland, who matched his career high eight points while adding seven rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench. Anderson, in addition to his two crucial points at the end of the game, dished out a career-best eight assists and totaled three steals.
Eikmeier led a strong CSU offensive effort with a game-high 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 5-for-6 from 3. Forward Pierce Hornung just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine boards, while forward Will Bell scored 11. As a team, the Rams shot 52.9 percent for the game and 57.1 percent (8-of-14) from outside the arc.
TCU came out firing early in the first half, leading by as many as six points in the game's opening six minutes. The Frogs were hot from beyond the arc, as Thorns, Cadot and Crossland combined to sink a trio of early 3-pointers.
Colorado State regrouped, rattling off a 15-2 run in the second half of the opening period to move ahead by 10 points. Eikmeier hit three treys in a span of three-and-one-half minutes to fuel the Ram run. The Frogs found their footing late in the half thanks in part to the efforts of Williams, who scored eight points in the final 2:50 to help TCU cut the deficit to only five, 38-33 at intermission.
TCU concludes its two-game homestand Tuesday when it plays host to No. 14 UNLV at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Tip-off for the contest, which will be televised live by The MountainWest Sports Network (The Mtn.), is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.