No. 6 San Diego State defeated TCU 60-53 on Saturday, dropping the Frogs to 10-14 on the season and 1-8 in Mountain West Conference play. The Frogs kept the game within reach, cutting the lead to five points with just over a minute remaining in the game, but the Aztecs won their 16th consecutive home game at a sold-out Viejas Arena. San Diego State improved to 22-1 overall and 8-1 in the MWC.
Junior guard Hank Thorns’ 3-pointer with 1:07 remaining cut the Aztecs’ lead to five, but SDSU kept the Frogs at bay by forcing its way to the free-throw line. Forward Billy White answered Thorns’ 3-pointer by drawing a shooting foul after draining the shot clock. He made both shots, and guard James Rahon later added two more to put the game out of reach inside the final 15 seconds.
White was a force inside in the second half, hitting 9-of-10 free throws in the period alone. He helped lead the Aztecs to an 18-of-24 free-throw performance, while the Frogs were only 6-of-9 from the line.
Thorns led TCU with 16 points, while he added eight assists in 40 minutes of action. Senior guard Greg Hill also reached double figures, matching a season high with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range.
Sophomore forward Garlon Green scored eight points. White scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Aztecs.
Forwards Malcolm Thomas and Kawhi Leonard, who scored 11 points each, both recorded double-doubles, pulling down 14 and 10 rebounds, respectively.
Saturday marked one of TCU’s top defensive performances of the season, as the squad matched its season-low opponent scoring total of 60 points. The Aztecs shot only 39.1 percent from the field, including only 36.4 percent in the second half. Despite TCU’s defensive success, SDSU still did its damage on the glass, posting a 39-27 rebounding advantage that included 14 offensive boards. TCU itself shot only 39.6 percent for the contest, including just 31.6 percent from beyond the arc.
TCU and SDSU played a back-and-forth first half featuring two ties and five lead changes. The Frogs scored the opening six points of the game, but the Aztecs answered with 13 of the game’s next 19 points. SDSU led by three points with just over seven minutes remaining until two straight buckets by Green, including a 3-pointer, put the Frogs back on top by two, 21-19.
SDSU scored nine of the half’s final 12 points to move ahead by four at intermission. Leonard recorded a tip-in off an in-bounds play with only 0.4 seconds remaining to send the Aztecs up 28-24, their largest lead of the half.
The Aztecs moved ahead by a game-high 11-point margin midway through the second half. A 6-0 run culminated by a White layup put SDSU up 42-31 before TCU slowly climbed back into the contest.
TCU returns home to play UNLV at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. The match-up will be televised live on The Mtn.