TCU Overcomes Houston 71-65
Feb. 28, 2004
FORT WORTH, Texas - The TCU Horned Frogs (11-14, 7-7 C-USA) clinched a spot in the 2004 Kelly Tires Conference USA Tournament by virtue of a 71-65 victory over the Houston Cougars (9-16, 3-11) on Saturday night at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. The victory gave the Frogs a two-game season sweep over their instate rivals for just the fourth time ever.
Houston scored just 15 seconds into the game and never relinquished the lead in the first half. The Horned Frogs were scoreless for the final 2:34 of the first stanza, as the Cougars turned a four-point lead into a 34-26 halftime advantage. TCU shot just 30 percent from the field in the opening stanza, while Houston made 50 percent (13-of-26) of its shots.
TCU earned its first lead of the night, 37-36, after a 22-foot bomb from Marcus Shropshire on the right wing. That capped an 11-2 Horned Frog run in the first 3:37 of the second half. That lead was short-lived, however, as Houston scored the next six points to regain control for the next eight minutes.
A free throw by Femi Ibikunle with 4:03 remaining put TCU on top for good, and the key blow to the Cougars' chances was a banked three-point shot by Corey Santee that put the Frogs up by five with just 2:14 remaining. The six-point margin of victory was the biggest lead of the game for TCU.
The Frogs sizzled from the floor in the second half, shooting 65 percent (13-for-20), while the Cougars made just 8 of 20 attempts (40 percent). The Horned Frogs had fewer than 10 turnovers (9) for the second time this season.
Shropshire poured in a game-high 27 points for the Horned Frogs, as he connected on a career-best seven three-point attempts. Santee joined his backcourt mate in double figures with 12. Houston native Marcus Sloan secured a career-high 10 boards, while Ibikunle had nine points and five rebounds.
If the C-USA Tournament started today, the Frogs would be the eighth seed in the 12-team tourney and would face ninth-seeded Marquette in the first round. The Horned Frogs wrap up the regular season with a pair of road games next week. TCU plays at Memphis on Wednesday, March 3 at 7:05 p.m. and at UAB on Saturday, March 6 at noon.