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TCU 360

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TCU overpowers Richmond to advance to NIT Semifinals at Madison Square Garden

TCU guard Kenrich Williams orchestrates the offense in a win over Richmond in the NIT quarterfinals. (Photo By Sam Bruton/TCU 360 Photographer.)

On the one year anniversary of TCU head coach Jamie Dixon’s arrival in Fort Worth, TCU out-muscled the Richmond Spiders in Fort Worth, out-rebounding their opponent 39-22 en route to a dominant 86-68 victory Tuesday night. The win sends the Horned Frogs to the the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York for the first time in school history.

“This program has come so far from when I was here my freshman year with a winless conference season, 0-18, and now I’m headed to New York for the semifinals of the NIT,” TCU guard Brandon Parrish said. “It hurt not to go to the NCAA tournament, but when you play for a team that hasn’t seen the postseason in years how can that not motivate you to do your best to bring an enthusiasm to the basketball program that hasn’t been seen in so long.”

Dixon has surpassed the expectations set out for him in his first year at his alma mater.

“This is maybe a little ahead of schedule in terms of the atmosphere here,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “Chris [Del Conte] told me to slow down, but I’m not good with slowing down and patience.”

The game started out as a close affair, but that all changed after the 13:02 mark in the first half when TCU led Richmond by just a point, 10-9. After that, the Horned Frogs went on an 11-0 run that pushed TCU’s lead to 12, 21-9, powered by TCU forward Vladimir Brodzianksy, who scored six of the points on the run through a variety of a jump-hook, lay-up, and pull-up jumper.

TCU forward Kenrich Williams missed a first-half double-double by a point, as he went into the locker room with nine points and ten rebounds. However, he finished the game with TCU’s first ever triple-double, totaling 11 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists.

“I didn’t even know I was close to a triple-double right until the end when my teammates told me, so I looked for that last pass,” TCU guard Kenrich Williams said. “My teammates did a great job of making plays tonight.”

Williams sat out the entirety of the 2015-2016 campaign after needing knee surgery.

“It’s a blessing to do this, having sat on the sidelines all of last year,” Williams said.

Dixon was unsure how Williams would look post-surgery.

“We didn’t know what we had in Kenrich at the beginning of the year, and now we know know he has it,” Dixon said. “His versatility is unbelievable.”

TCU forward Vladimir Brodziansky scored 16 of his team-high 20 points in the first 20 minutes on an efficient five-of-eight shooting, as the Horned Frogs led 41-26 at the half.

Just 2:15 into the second half, the Horned Frogs went on a 13- 1 run on the strength of three three-pointers by Desmond Bane, JD Miller, and Brandon Parrish in a span of about 90 seconds.

The TCU lead ballooned to as much as 22, 75-53, with 6:10 left in the game.

The Horned Frogs’ four seniors Brandon Parrish, Karviar Shepherd, Chris Washburn Jr., and Mike Williams capped off their final game in Fort Worth in style, addressing the crowd over the public address system before heading to the locker room.

“We thank the TCU community and our students each and every day for what they’ve done for us and the energy they’ve brought to Schollmaier Arena to provide a home court advantage like ours,” TCU guard Brandon Parrish said.

TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini played his part in rallying the students for Tuesday’s game, paying for a free hot dog, bag of chips, drink, and ice cream for every student in attendance. “I just wanted to thank our students for how they’ve shown up all basketball season,” Boschini said. “I think having them all here really made a difference.”

Up Next

The Horned Frogs next game will be at the NIT Semifinals in New York against the winner of Wednesday’s game between University of Illinois and University of Central Florida.

Reaching the Semifinals of the NIT is an accomplishment for a basketball program that hadn’t reached the postseason since 2005, but Dixon isn’t satisfied with where his team is yet.

“We still have more things to prove this season,” Dixon said.

TCU’s next game will tipoff at Madison Square Garden in New York March 28th at either six or eight p.m. against either Illinois or UCF.

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