FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Desmond Bane had more shots than any of his teammates while also leading TCU in points, rebounds and assists against Illinois State.
Coach Jamie Dixon wants to see the ball in his hands even more.
Bane had 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists, Jaire Grayer hit four 3-pointers on the way to a season-high 15 points for the graduate transfer and the Horned Frogs beat the Redbirds 81-69 on Tuesday night.
Grayer made consecutive 3s to give TCU a 13-point lead early in the second half before Antonio Reeves got hot from long range for Illinois State (3-5). Reeves hit three straight 3s before another bucket from beyond the arc by DJ Horne pulled the Redbirds even at 59-all.
Bane attempted just two of his game-high 14 shots during that 20-7 run by Illinois State. The senior who entered the game fourth in the Big 12 in scoring was 9 of 14 from the floor while the Horned Frogs shot 47%.
“We’ve also got to recognize who’s getting the shots,” Dixon said. Desmond has to get more shots than some of these others that we’re getting. We’ve just got to get better offensively. I thought we’d be better right now offensively than we are, and we’re not.”
Another 3-pointer from Grayer, who was awarded a redshirt year after being limited to seven games by a foot injury in his fourth season at George Mason, put the Horned Frogs (6-1) back in front for good and started a 9-1 run.
Grayer was 4 of 6 from long range, falling one made 3 shy of his career high.
“Coming out in rhythm and catching my shots I feel I have the confidence to knock down,” Grayer said. “My teammates were moving the ball and sharing it as well. We were cutting and moving. When the time came I just made the open shots.”
Zach Copeland was 5 of 8 from long range and scored 19 points for the Redbirds, who have lost all three meetings against TCU. Reeves scored 15.
“We’re just not good enough to win this game, a game like this,” Illinois State coach Dan Muller said. “That’s disappointing. But I do know we had guys not play well.”
Kevin Samuel had 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, eight rebounds and three blocks for TCU.
TCU erased a 7-0 deficit in less than 50 seconds. Bane hit a 3-pointer after the Horned Frogs missed their first seven shots, and his steal led to a 3 from Diante Smith. After another steal by Samuel, Bane ran down a pass for a layup and converted the 3-point play for a 9-7 lead.
Illinois State: After making all 15 free throws in a win over Illinois-Springfield in their previous game, the Redbirds got to the line just twice in the first half, making one. They were more aggressive after halftime but struggled to make the freebies, finishing 8 of 13.
TCU: Getting outrebounded badly and needing a last-second shot to beat UC-Irvine at home must have been an attention-getter for the Horned Frogs. They’ve dominated the boards in three games since. TCU had a 39-30 edge in rebounding and an 18-6 margin in second-chance points against the Redbirds.
COACHING ALMA MATERS
Both coaches are among 38 in the country coaching their alma maters. Dixon is in his fourth season with the Horned Frogs after spending his first 13 years as a head coach at Pittsburgh. All eight of Muller’s seasons have been at Illinois State. Both played in the NCAA Tournament for their respective schools.
TCU entered the game last in the Big 12 in free throw percentage at 61% and had another shaky game at 62% (13 of 21). Samuel was 1 of 3, dropping him to 6 of 21 for the season, or 29%. “We’re doing everything we can, putting in the time,” Dixon said. “He’s working very hard. It’s hard to recover from that number.”
Illinois State: Morehead State at home Saturday.
TCU: Southern California in first game at new Dickie’s Arena near TCU campus Friday.