TCU wasn’t ready to go home, and now Texas Tech must sweat out Selection Sunday.
The 10th-seeded Horned Frogs who won two conference games, defeated seventh-seeded Texas Tech 67-62 to advance to the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals against West Virginia.
TCU, 12-20, has won a Big 12 Tournament game for the second straight year.
For Tech, 19-12, the late season momentum that improved their NCAA Tournament at-large resume, failed them at Sprint Center.
Never miss a local story.
TCU guard Chauncey Collins finished with 19 points and hit two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to give the Horned Frogs a four-point lead. Collins set the tone early by knocking down his first three from behind the arc.
The teams came out of a timeout with 3:22 remaining and traded a pair of empty possessions with the score 56-56.
“It was tied up, and it was going to take our strongest four minutes of the season,” TCU junior guard Brandon Parrish said. “We tried our hardest to stay poised.”
Parrish was just that when he hit two free throws at the 1:32 mark. Tech answered with a driving bucket from Zach Smith.
The Frogs’ Chris Washburn then delivered a perfect entry pass to Vladimir Brodziansky, whose sweeping layup restored the TCU lead. The Frogs didn’t trail after that.
The ensuing Tech possession was costly. Aaron Ross missed a three-pointer from the top and the rebound came out long. That started a run out finished by Malique Trent, who completed a three-point play for a 63-58 lead with 34 seconds remaining.
TCU arrived in Kansas City on a seven-game losing streak, but the Frogs played Texas Tech close in both regular-season meetings, losing by a combined 11 points.
“This last month we’ve been coming close versus good teams,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said. “And Texas Tech is a very good basketball team.”
Tech was seeking its first postseason victory in coach Tubby Smith’s three years. The program has done an about face this season. After finishing 3-15 in Big 12 play last year, the Red Raiders improved to 9-9 in the league and entered the tournament in good shape for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth.
Tech hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2007, in Bob Knight’s final full year as the Red Raiders’ coach.
Smith is bidding to join Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger as the only coaches to take five programs to the NCAA Tournament. Before Tech, he’s coached at Tulsa, Georgia, Kentucky and Minnesota.
His first Kentucky team in 1998 won the NCAA championship.
He and the Red Raiders will know Sunday whether their season will be extended in the NCAA. They entered Wednesday game with a No. 26 RPI, usually a safe zone for at-large selections. If anything, Tech might drop a line in the seeding.
Meanwhile, TCU didn’t build off an encouraging 2015 season and struggled to its third last-place finish in Johnson’s fourth season.
In the opening minutes Wednesday, the teams played to their seeds.
The Frogs committed three turnovers before attempting a shot, and Tech jumped to a 7-0 lead, but the advantage was short-lived. By the second media time out, TCU had taken the lead and the game see-sawed the rest of the half.
Tech’s scoring leader, Toddrick Gotcher, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored the first five points of the second half as the Red Raiders opened a six-point lead.
TCU came back with 13 unanswered points and teams battled on even terms into the final moments.