Mistakes plague No. 17 TCU basketball in Big 12 road loss at No. 12 Kansas State

The margin of error in the Big 12 is extremely small, especially when you’re without your best player.

No. 17 TCU (17-7, 6-5) failed to complete the season sweep of Kansas State as the No. 12 Wildcats (19-5, 7-4) played a cleaner game in their 82-61 win over the Horned Frogs.

TCU was without Mike Miles Jr. for the third straight game, and it showed time and time again as the Horned Frogs routinely got in their own way on offense without the guidance of the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year in Miles.

Despite how sloppy TCU looked most of the night, the Horned Frogs only trailed 65-59 after Emanuel Miller found an open JaKobe Coles for a bucket inside after a Wildcats turnover with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

The momentum wouldn’t last long as the Wildcats answered with a 17-2 run over the final four minutes to roll past the Horned Frogs.

It was a collapse similar to what happened at Oklahoma State on Saturday. But that sequence isn’t the only reason TCU lost this game; the Horned Frogs were repeatedly getting in their own way.

For example, the Horned Frogs battled back right out of halftime to make it 38-36 and seemed poise to retake the lead. But then TCU began to self-destruct with two turnovers in a row a few possessions later. As a result, K-State turned a two-point lead into a 48-38 advantage with just over 15 minutes to play.

TCU spent the rest of the second half trying to close the gap, cutting it to 10 or nine points, just for the Wildcats to respond with a bucket. It was a frustrating night in what was a winnable game over a top-15 opponent.

Damion Baugh led TCU with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists. JaKobe Coles and Micah Peavy added 11.

Nowell’s day

TCU did a terrific job on the Wildcats’ leading scorer Keyontae Johnson, who dealt with foul trouble most of the night. The same can’t be said for K-State point guard Markquis Nowell, who controlled the game with his driving and passing.

Nowell scored or assisted on nine of K-State’s first 12 points, which turned out to be a preview of what was to come. It was Nowell who stopped TCU’s 6-0 run out of halftime with a tough bucket that made it 40-36. Later in second half, Nowell had a mismatch with Coles and beat him to the basket for a layup that gave the Wildcats a 55-44 lead with 11 minutes, 36 remaining.

After Rondel Walker made it a nine-point game, at 61-52, with under seven minutes remaining, Nowell whipped a pass Tykei Green for a bucket that put K-State back ahead double digits. Nowell made those type of crafty plays all night and without Miles to match his production, he ended up being the difference.

Nowell added a deep 3-pointer from near the half court logo to cap off his brilliant night. He finished with 18 points, seven assists and three 3-pointers.

Sloppy first half

TCU looked like it was about to get off to another slow start as the Horned Frogs’ first five possessions resulted in three missed shots and two turnovers while Kansas State jumped ahead 5-0. Miller, though, powered a 6-0 run that gave TCU its first lead of the night. After that, however, the TCU offense descended into chaos.

Turnovers became a consistent problem for the Horned Frogs as they went nearly three minutes without a basket. As a result, Kansas State seized a 18-11 lead less with 8:43 remaining in the first half. But to TCU’s credit, the Horned Frogs never let Kansas State pull away in the first half.

After a dunk put the Wildcats ahead 31-24 with under two minutes remaining, Miller and Peavy hit two baskets to make it a three-point game. Despite having as many turnovers (12) as they did field goals, the Horned Frogs only trailed 36-30 at halftime.

Lampkin’s return

TCU got good news when Lampkin announced earlier in the day he would be returning to the lineup after dealing with an ankle injury. Lampkin was still clearly not 100% despite getting the start against the Wildcats.

Lampkin took just one shot and grabbed one rebound in 11 minutes in the first half. His size did help TCU’s interior defense when he was on the court, but almost every time he came off the court, Lampkin was getting his ankle checked out. Lampkin played seven more minutes in the second half, but didn’t score a point.