Fort Worth -- In TCU's first NIT appearance in more than a decade, the Frogs used a push midway through the second half to surge past Fresno St. 66-59, advancing to the second round of the tournament.
"It wasn't pretty offensively for us," said TCU head coach Jamie Dixon, "but we grinded it out."
TCU's offense struggled all night and hit a lull midway through the second half. Fresno State took advantage and a 43-32 lead with a little less than 12 minutes left in the game.
TCU answered by converting a mad scramble for a loose ball into a dunk by Kenrich Williams, sparking the crowd to life and provided the energy needed for TCU to make a run the rest of the way.
"That rallied us together, everybody, I mean even the fans. Everybody went crazy," said guard Alex Robinson. "That was a huge play."
It was a great example of the gritty effort the Frogs displayed and needed to secure the win on a night when offensive flow was next to non-existent.
Robinson followed with a three-pointer moments later, and then a fake-and-finish lay-in to put the Frogs up by 11 with 5 minutes left, sealing the game. Robinson led TCU with 14 points. Williams scored 13.
"I really like our effort, how many times we were on the floor," said Dixon, "I thought it was great energy."
The victory extended was Dixon calls, "a season of firsts." It's the Frogs first NIT win and 20-win campaign since their last NIT appearance in 2005.
"We love coaching this team," said Dixon. "We love coaching these guys and speaking for myself and the coaches we didn't want it to be done."
TCU hits the road to face Iowa in the second round of the NIT Sunday at 6:30pm.
Frog Notes* At 14-6, TCU has equaled its most wins at home since a 14-3 mark in the 2011-12 season.
* TCU led 30-25 at the break and is now 17-2 this season when ahead at the half.* The Horned Frogs held a 39-28 rebounding edge and are now 19-6 this season when out-rebounding its opponent.
* TCU’s first five field goals were by five different players.
* TCU trailed just once in the game, 43-42, with 11:49 to play.
* Nine of the 10 Horned Frogs who saw action scored.* Seven Horned Frogs had at least one 3-pointer.