Heartbreaking loss for Cyclones
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — R.J. Nembhard remembered being near the same spot on the floor the first time he rescued TCU with a 3-pointer this season.
Nembhard forced overtime by banking in a 3 from near the center court logo with 1.7 seconds remaining and scored the first four points of the extra period, lifting the Horned Frogs to an 81-79 win over Iowa State in a Big 12 opener Saturday night.
Nembhard scored a career-high 31 points, his tying shot atoned for a missed free throw that would have tied the score with 10 remaining.
The sophomore guard, who won a game against UC Irvine in November with a 3 from a similar spot in the final seconds, also had a tying 3 in the final minute for the Horned Frogs (10-3).
“I was pretty sick that I missed the free throw, kind of feel like I let us down in that aspect,” said Nembhard, who scored 12 of TCU’s final 14 points in regulation. “But the basketball gods were with me and they came right back around.”
Tyrese Haliburton had a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the Cyclones (7-6), but his 40-foot heave at the buzzer in overtime grazed the rim after TCU’s Kevin Samuel missed two free throws with 5 seconds to go.
Haliburton broke a 67-all tie with a 3-pointer with 1:01 remaining, and Iowa State went in front again with 15 seconds left on a pair of free throws from George Conditt, who scored 19 points.
“(Haliburton) is a really good player, we all know that,” said Iowa State coach Steve Prohm, whose team has lost five consecutive games to TCU. “He’s got great character, he’s a great leader and he’s a tremendous player.”
Haliburton hit two free throws for a 74-71 lead with eight seconds to go after Nembhard’s miss from the line, but Nembhard took the inbound pass, dribbled past a screen near midcourt and pulled up for his tying shot.
“We’ve said all along that we thought we were a better shooting team than what we’ve shot,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “We’ve seen our numbers increase and improve, and our percentages go up. We believe that.”
Nembhard made one of two free throws for the first point of overtime before hitting a 3 for a 78-74 lead with 2:25 to go.
Desmond Bane, TCU’s leading scorer, had 16 points at halftime but didn’t score in the second half, picking up his fourth foul with 13 minutes to go. Samuel had 16 points and nine rebounds.
“I was still confident in our team,” Bane said. “Like R.J. said, we’ve had multiple different lineups out there and I knew that we were going to do exactly what we did.”
Rasir Bolton scored 17 for Iowa State.
Haliburton’s first career triple-double was the first for Iowa State since Donte Morris had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 130-63 win over The Citadel on Nov. 20, 2016. It was the sixth triple-double in Iowa State history.
TCU graduate transfer Jaire Grayer is the son of Jeff Grayer, Iowa State’s all-time leading scorer with 2,502 points from 1985-88. The younger Grayer scored just three points, but it was a tying 3 with eight minutes left in regulation.
Iowa State: An upset loss to Florida A&M in the final game before Big 12 play wasn’t too shocking considering the absence of Haliburton because of a sprained left wrist. And his strong game against the Horned Frogs at least showed the Cyclones they have a chance to compete in the Big 12.
TCU: The Horned Frogs won their Big 12 opener for the second straight year after losing their first six. This one was big considering TCU was picked to finish last by the coaches in their preseason poll.
Iowa State: No. 3 Kansas at home Wednesday.
TCU: First true road game of the season at Kansas State on Tuesday.