Feb. 22, 2012
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP)- Statistically, Texas Christian is one of the worst rebounding teams in the Mountain West Conference.
You'd never be able to convince Air Force of that after Wednesday night.
The Horned Frogs overcame a poor shooting performance by pulling down 22 offensive rebounds to complete a 65-62 come-from-behind win over the Falcons at Clune Arena. Those offensive boards led to 25 second-chance points for TCU (16-11, 6-5 Mountain West), which has won three of four.
Amric Fields took a pass from Connell Crossland, squared his feet and hit a long 3-pointer with 18 seconds remaining to give the Horned Frogs a 63-62 lead they would not relinquish. Fields' basket came after Crossland grabbed the Horned Frogs' 44th rebound of the night.
Taylor Broekhuis'game-tying 3-point attempt missed high on the glass as time expired.
"This is the first game winner of my career, actually - from high school, middle school and everything," Fields said. "It was a broken play, but Connell (Crossland) found me in the corner and thank God it went in. Offensive rebounds were the only reason we were still in the game, and we just kept saying to each other `keep fighting.'"
Michael Lyonsgave the Falcons (13-12, 3-8) a 62-60 lead with 57 seconds remaining on a turnaround jumper, and Air Force blocked two TCU shots before Fields' heroics.
Air Force had ample opportunities to take the lead in the final seconds, but Lyons and Justin Hammondscould not connect, and the Falcons were forced to foul. J.R. Cadot, who led the Horned Frogs with 16 points and 13 rebounds, hit a pair of free throws with 3.3 seconds left to put TCU up by three.
"To get a road win against Air Force after they just beat San Diego State is great," Cadot said. "We knew that we were a better rebounding team than them size-wise, and we just wanted to take advantage of it. I felt like that was the key that helped us win. We did not do a great job on defense, but we did in rebounding, and the result showed it."
TCU finished with a 44-26 rebounding advantage and took 17 more shots than Air Force. The Horned Frogs earned their first conference road victory of the season despite hitting just 37.1 percent of their shots, far from the Falcons' 51.1-percent mark.
"You've got to find a way, and we found a way to get it," TCU coach Jim Christian said. "That's a big-time shot by Amric (Fields). I'm proud of their resiliency, and that's how they've been all year long."
TCU lost a double-overtime heartbreaker at Colorado State on Jan. 14 and fell 65-64 at Boise State on Saturday, otherwise it would be tied atop the conference standings against its next opponent, New Mexico .
"We're 30 seconds away from playing for first," Christian said. "We had a lead with five seconds to go, and we had a lead with one minute to go with the other two (conference) road opportunities we had, so we know where we are and just have to keep playing. We're obviously playing a great New Mexico team on Saturday, but we have to just keep moving forward."
Freshman guard Kyan Anderson added 13 points for the Horned Frogs, with Fields finishing with 10. TCU's leading scorer Hank Thorns (13.4 ppg) scored just three points on 1-of-10 shooting before fouling out with 1:23 remaining.
The loss spoiled Hammonds ' career-high 17 points, and Broekhuis finished with 15 points and a career-high six blocks. Mike Fitzgeraldchipped in 13 for Air Force.
The Falcons led by as many as 10 in the second half, 48-38 with 12:56 remaining, and held an eight-point advantage with 7:56 left.
"To have a 10-point lead and lose by three is a tough loss," Fitzgerald said. "With three minutes to go, that's when it all came unraveled. Offensive rebounds were a key, and we can't let teams do that."
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for Air Force, which knocked off 13th-ranked San Diego State at home on Saturday.
"Every time they came down and missed a shot, they got an offensive rebound," Air Force coach Dave Pilipovichsaid. "We were up two and block two shots, but the possession stayed with them. If we blocked those shots and maybe get the ball, maybe they foul and you can hit some free throws. Then maybe the game is different there at the end."
TCU led by as many as nine points midway through the first half, but Air Force charged back with a 13-0 run to take a seven-point lead. The Falcons led 32-29 at halftime despite allowing eight Horned Frogs offensive rebounds.