Coles’ game-winner, Miles Jr.’s 26 points lift TCU to 72-70 comeback win over Arizona State

Mar 17, 2023; Denver, CO, USA; TCU Horned Frogs forward JaKobe Coles (21) is congratulated by guard Mike Miles Jr. (1) after a play during the first half against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Coles’ game-winner, Miles Jr.’s 26 points lift TCU to 72-70 comeback win over Arizona State

No. 6-seed TCU 72, No. 11-seed Arizona State 70 

Sixth-seeded TCU began its NCAA Tournament journey on the right foot, defeating No. 11-seed Arizona State 72-70 in Denver after a 10-3 run in the game’s final moments was capped off by JaKobe Coles’ game-winning runner with 1.5 seconds on the clock. The Horned Frogs erased an 11-point second-half deficit to pick up a thrilling victory, overcoming a spirited effort by the Sun Devils to move on. With the win, the Horned Frogs advanced to the Round of 32, where they’ll take on No. 3-seed Gonzaga on Sunday.

Mike Miles Jr., who left the game for the final two minutes of the first half with an apparent lower leg injury, returned after halftime and finished the night with 26 points to lead the Horned Frogs. Chuck O’Bannon Jr. scored a season-high 15 points for TCU, while Damion Baugh scored five huge points in the game’s final two minutes and finished with 11. JaKobe Coles, who nailed the game-winner, had 11 as well.

The Horned Frogs were once again without forward Eddie Lampkin Jr., who has left the TCU program and entered the transfer portal.

TCU began the game on fire, making six of its first seven shots – including its first two 3-pointers – to build a 15-4 lead over the Sun Devils just four minutes into the game. Arizona State, who dominated Nevada in a play-in game for the right to take on the Horned Frogs, responded quickly with a 9-0 run of their own to pull back within two.

Both offenses shot the basketball well in the game’s early moments, with TCU starting 6-for-11 while ASU started 6-for-12. After Luther Muhammad’s jumper tickled the twine for Arizona State with 10:29 to go in the half, the game was knotted at 17. The Sun Devils’ first lead came moments later when Muhammad’s 3-pointer made it 20-19.

The Frogs and Devils exchanged leads several times in the minutes that followed, with Arizona State heading into the under-8 media timeout ahead 26-25. 

Friday night’s game took a downward turn for the Horned Frogs in the first half’s final two minutes. After star guard Mike Miles Jr. limped off the floor after landing awkwardly from a dunk, Desmond Cambridge Jr.’s 3-pointer gave Arizona State its biggest lead of the night at 40-35. 

Miles had 16 first-half points already when the injury occurred, and Arizona State took full advantage of TCU’s misfortune. At the break, the Sun Devils led 44-37. DJ Horne and Desmond Cambridge Jr. led ASU with eight points apiece heading into the locker room. The Sun Devils shot a scorching 59% from the field in the first half, including making 6-of-10 3-pointers. 

Mike Miles Jr. returned to the floor as the second half began for TCU, but Arizona State’s momentum continued to build after the break. Devan Cambridge threw down a reverse dunk to extend ASU’s lead to nine, and his brother Desmond followed a TCU turnover moments later with a layup of his own to put the Sun Devils up 53-42 and force a full timeout by Jamie Dixon.

The timeout seemed to work, especially for the Frogs’ defense. TCU forced three straight turnovers from Arizona State’s offense and cut its deficit to 52-46 with 13:46 remaining. Overall, ASU’s scoring drought lasted 3:19 before a pair of free throws stopped the bleeding.

When Damion Baugh drilled a 3-pointer for his first points of the night with just 10 minutes left, TCU’s deficit was just 54-51. After a steal by Emanuel Miller two possessions later, JaKobe Coles tied the game at 54 by sinking a free throw with 9:10 to go.

Unfortunately for Jamie Dixon’s team, a scoring drought of more than four minutes followed as the Sun Devils pulled back ahead by eight.

Still, the Horned Frogs refused to back down. Mike Miles Jr. made a running layup to cut ASU’s lead to just 65-62 with under four minutes to play, but TCU desperately needed a few defensive stops. The Frogs picked up several in a row, and Damion Baugh’s 3-pointer bounced several times around the rim before going through the net to tie the game at 67 with 1:42 left.

After a pair of free throws by Baugh with 34.8 seconds on the clock, TCU pulled ahead 69-67 for its first lead of the second half. The Horned Frogs’ defense continued to deny Arizona State’s guards at the rim in the final seconds, but a missed free throw by Mike Miles Jr. left the door open. DJ Horne canned a deep 3-pointer with 12.4 seconds left for ASU, tying the game at 70.

With Mike Miles Jr. double-teamed in the final seconds, it was JaKobe Coles who sunk a running shot with 1.5 seconds to go to sink the Sun Devils once and for all.

The Horned Frogs will now take on No. 3-seed Gonzaga on Sunday for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16.

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