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TCU fulfills dream with 1st Big 12 win over Kansas
FORT WORTH, TEXAS (AP) - Garlon Green dreamed of a victory over Kansas long before he played for TCU.
It’s hard to think that the Horned Frogs senior forward or anyone else could have ever imagined his dream being fulfilled like this. The fifth-ranked Jayhawks certainly didn’t.
Big 12 newcomer TCU was still looking for its first conference victory and there were some who wondered if the Frogs, who have lost three key players to season-ending injuries, could go 0-18 in the league. On Wednesday night, here came the Jayhawks, the bullies of the Big 12, the team that has won 12 of 16 regular-season league titles. They were coming off a rare home loss and riding a seven-year streak without consecutive losses.
Blowout city, right?
The Frogs stunned everyone by sticking Kansas with its largest deficit of the season, and led throughout for a 62-55 shocker and their first-ever win over a top five team.
“We come out here every day. We put our heart and soul into it every night, every morning,” Green said. “I’ve grown up since I was 3 years old having a dream to beat Kansas or beat anybody. I’ve always believed in myself.”
Green scored 20 points, including five in a row to thwart a potential comeback by the Jayhawks (19-3, 7-2 Big 12) after a 17-4 run got them within four points with 6:49 left _ the closest they got after TCU scored the game’s first eight points.
TCU (10-12, 1-8) led by as many as 16 points after halftime, but first-year coach Trent Johnson didn’t feel comfortable until almost the very end of the game.
“When there was 8 seconds left on the clock and we were on the free throw line,” Johnson said. “I’ve been in this scenario before and seen both sides of it. A lot can happen in a minute. When there was 8 seconds left on the clock and we were at the line, I said `All right,’ took a deep breath and there we go.”
A few seconds later, TCU students were swarming the Horned Frogs on the court.
The Frogs won’t be the first Big 12 team since Texas A&M in 2003-04 to go winless in league play. The Aggies lost all 16 conference games that season, as Baylor did in 1998-99. A double round-robin schedule for the 10 teams added two league games last season.
Johnson previously took LSU, Stanford and Nevada to the NCAA tournament, a place the Horned Frogs haven’t been since 1998. The Frogs were coming off their first winning season in seven years when he arrived for the challenge of leading them into the Big 12.
Johnson is 2-0 against Kansas. His Nevada team beat the sixth-ranked Jayhawks in December 2003. But his first season in Fort Worth has been hampered by some significant injuries.
Aaron Durley, a 6-foot-10, 270-pound freshman center who was expected to have an early impact, tore an ACL during a non-contract drill the second week of preseason practice.
Junior forward Amric Field, the Mountain West Conference’s top sixth man last year who had moved into a starting role, sustained a season-ending knee injury when his right leg buckled and he fell to the floor 12 seconds into the third game. Junior starting guard Jarvis Ray’s season was ended by an injury to his left foot in his 10th game.
By Tammy Bruce
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