FORT WORTH, Texas - Desmond Bane led TCU with 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 Illinois State 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 the Redbirds (3-5). Reeves connected on three straight 3s before another bucket from beyond the arc by DJ Horne pulled Illinois State even at 59-all.
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 3 shy of his career high.
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.
Kevin Samuel had 15 points and eight rebounds 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 Kevin 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.
Both coaches are among 38 in the country coaching their alma maters. TCU’s Jamie Dixon is in his fourth season after spending his first 13 years as a head coach at Pittsburgh. All eight of Dan Muller’s seasons have been at Illinois State. Both played in the NCAA Tournament for their respective schools.
Illinois State: Morehead State at home Saturday.
TCU: Southern California in first game at new Dickie’s Arena near TCU campus Friday.