National Basketball Association
Utah St. 88, Texas Christian 72
When: 9:55 PM ET, Friday, March 22, 2024
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Officials: # Roger Ayers, # Anthony Jordan, # Scott Brown
Attendance: 16668

INDIANAPOLIS -- Isaac Johnson scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half to lead eighth-seeded Utah State to an 88-72 first-round Midwest Region win over ninth-seeded TCU on Friday.

Utah State snapped a 10-game NCAA Tournament losing streak. The Aggies last tasted March Madness victory in 2001 with a 77-68 overtime win against Ohio State in the first round of the East Region.

Ian Martinez added a game-high 21 while Darius Brown II chipped in with 10 points and 10 assists for Utah State (28-6), which advances to play top-seeded Purdue on Sunday.

"Unbelievable win. Just the toughness and the grit our guys showed against a Big-12 team," Utah State coach Danny Sprinkle said. "That's a physical -- that's a really good team. We knew what we were in for when we drew that seed. I really think playing San Diego State last Friday (in the Mountain West tournament semifinal) prepared us for this win."

JaKobe Coles had 19 points, while Emanuel Miller added 13 points and 11 rebounds for TCU (21-13), which jumped out to leads of 16-8 and 18-10 but couldn't hold on.

The Aggies put away the Horned Frogs with a combination of inside strength in the first half and dazzling 3-point shooting in the second half, sinking five of their first nine second-half attempts from beyond the arc.

"We all have some special abilities and special talents on this team, and it's been showcased throughout the year," Johnson said. "So, first off, that's a big kudos to our coaching staff. Coach came to me before the game and said, shoot the ball and be confident. So I took his advice."

Miller led the way for Horned Frogs in the first half, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including two 3-pointers.

However, Utah State went on a 20-10 run, led by Great Osobor's seven points, to move on top 30-28.

Utah State outscored TCU 28-12 in the paint during the first half and used a 9-0 run late in the period to take a 43-35 lead. Micah Peavy cut the margin to six by hitting a layup with 30 seconds left to give the Horned Frogs some momentum heading into halftime.

"Tonight just wasn't our night," TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. "We got off to a good start, but still didn't feel like we were doing what we needed to do defensively, and as it went on, they just continued to get layups, continued to out-execute us, and simply put, we were outplayed."

A free throw from Xavier Cork brough TCU within 51-47 with 15:29 to go.

Johnson then drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to expand the lead to 10. After a Coles jumper, Johnson drained two free throws, giving him 12 consecutive Aggies points and handing Utah State a 59-49 lead with 13:04 left.

After four straight points from Avery Anderson III, Martinez and Brown sank treys as part of an 18-7 run that expanded Utah State's lead to 69-54.

--Mike Petraglia, Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Texas Christian   Utah St.
JaKobe Coles 19 Scoring Ian Martinez 21
Jameer Nelson Jr. 4 Assists Darius Brown II 10
Emanuel Miller 11 Rebounds Great Osobor 7
Avery Anderson III 5 Free Throws Made Ian Martinez 8
Jameer Nelson Jr. 3 Steals Mason Falslev 3
Charles O'Bannon Jr. 2 Blocks Isaac Johnson 4
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Texas Christian 72 35.8 7-22 17-22 13 35 4 6 14
Utah St. 88 55.0 8-19 14-15 22 26 9 10 9