Bane Becoming Mr. Clutch for TCU
March 28, 2017
NEW YORK - Although the official roster might say otherwise, TCU basketball coach Jamie Dixon told a rookie guard in front of the entire team, “You ain’t no freshman, Desmond Bane.”
That classic quote came after Bane hit three free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining to break a tie and give the Horned Frogs an 85-82 victory over No. 1 Kansas in a Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship quarterfinal game.
“That meant a lot to me, especially coming from someone like Coach Dixon,” Bane said. “To say something like that to me gave me a lot of confidence and helped me step up my game.”
Those three free throws, before a partisan Jayhawks crowd at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, are arguably the most famous makes at the charity stripe in TCU basketball history. It gave the Horned Frogs their first win over a top-ranked team in program history as well as putting them in the Big 12 tourney semifinal round for the first time in five years of conference play.
The Kansas game, in which he scored 16 points in just 21 minutes, has served as a late-season springboard for Bane. The 16 points surpassed the 12 he totaled in the previous four contests and were his most since scoring 18 Dec. 21 versus Bradley.
With the season-ending injury to Jaylen Fisher, Bane has taken his game to another level the last two contests.
Inserted back into the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 7 at SMU, Bane scored 13 points against both Iowa and Richmond to help send the Horned Frogs to New York City for Tuesday’s NIT semifinal game versus UCF at Madison Square Garden.
The win at Iowa, before a sold-out crowd of 15,400, saw Bane again at the free-throw line with the game at stake. He calmly made his last four attempts in the final 24 seconds of overtime to give the Horned Frogs a hard-fought 94-92 victory. In the process, Bane played a season-high 37 minutes. In addition to his 13 points, he contributed four assists and two rebounds.
In the 86-68 NIT quarterfinal win over Richmond, Bane played 34 minutes to equal his second-highest total on the year. He had three 3-pointers en route to his 13 points while adding three rebounds and two assists.
“With our team, it’s just the next man up,” Bane said. “It’s a team effort. When Jaylen went down, I knew it was my turn to step up and I’m trying to deliver.”
What Bane has been accomplishing is not lost on his teammates.
“I’m happy for him,” TCU senior forward Karviar Shepherd said. “It’s an awesome feeling, coming from high school and moving on to a league like the Big 12 and being able to produce like he has is a great thing. It speaks volumes about his future.”
Bane chose the Horned Frogs over the likes of Northwestern, Xavier and Purdue.
Bane was an electrifying scorer at Seton Catholic High School, averaging over 30 points per game and being a candidate for Mr. Basketball in the state. He totaled over 1,900 points in his prep career, including a 62-point effort one night. He is the all-time leading scorer in Wayne County. Over his final three seasons, he averaged a double-double at 24.9 points and 10.6 rebounds.
In Bane’s transition to TCU, Chris Washburn was among the veterans who took him under their wings and now watch with pride at how he’s excelling.
“It feels great,” Washburn said. “We go hard every day, and he bought into the effort early. We used to get on him, but he took it, went with it and didn’t stray from anything. He just stayed consistent.
“Even when he was in a little slump, I always spoke with him to tell him it’s just a freshman thing and you’ll get out of it. He always stayed positive. Once it came time to make big shots and play great at the end of the season, he’s been doing everything.”
“That’s what we’ve been talking about all season,” Bane said. “These seniors have been through a lot and for them to stick with it and fight through, we want to be able to give them something they’ll remember forever.”
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