TCU meets, stuns Arizona State with game winner in frenetic final seconds

No. 6 TCU was on the ropes on Friday.

But the Horned Frogs started a late rally and then pulled off a 72-70 victory over Arizona State by 11 pitches, capping off a frenetic last minute with a game-winner in the final seconds.

TCU extended a two-point lead to 70-67 with 24 seconds remaining on a free throw by All-Big 12 guard Mike Miles Jr. But a miss on the double bonus front left the door open for the Sun Devils. Arizona State’s DJ Horne, on the other hand, responded with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 70 with 15.6 seconds remaining.

But TCU’s JaKobe Coles had the final say. After a TCU timeout, the sophomore forward sank a float in traffic with 1.5 seconds left to give TCU a 72-70 lead.

Arizona State’s desperation as time ticked on missed the mark and the Horned Frogs advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Sun Devils saw their NCAA tournament end in heartbreak after controlling most of the second half.

TCU took control early on and opened up a 13-2 lead early in the first half. But Arizona State answered with a 15-4 run to tie the game at 17 and go into halftime with a 44-37 lead. The Sun Devils held off the Horned Frogs for most of the second half, leading 62-54 with 5:26 left. That’s when TCU started its rally.

The Horned Frogs improved the ASU lead over the next few minutes, tying the game at 67 with 1:52 remaining. Two free throws by Damion Baugh with 34 seconds remaining gave TCU its first lead of the second half. Then came the frantic finish.

March 17, 2023;  Denver, Colorado, USA;  TCU Horned Frogs guard Mike Miles Jr.  (1) dunks during the first half against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Ball Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Michael Ciaglo-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Miles led the TCU effort against Arizona State. (Michael Ciaglo/Reuters)

Miles led the TCU effort with 26 points, four rebounds and three assists. He did most of his damage at the free throw line, where he converted 12 of 14 attempts. His late miss gave ASU a chance, but Coles made sure it wouldn’t cost the Horned Frogs.

Horne was gallant in a 17-point effort for ASU, which included a 4-of-5 night from past the 3-point arc. It just wasn’t enough to fend off a better TCU team.

The Horned Frogs advance to the second round in the West Region, where they face No. 3 Gonzaga.

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