NICEVILLE, Fla. — Kenrich Williams led Texas Christian with 23 points Friday as the Horned Frogs advanced to the Emerald Coast Classic title game with a narrow 69-67 victory over New Mexico.
TCU (5-0) will face Maryland or St. Bonaventure for the championship Saturday at Northwest Florida State College.
Williams also led TCU with 17 rebounds. Desmond Bane added 11 points and Jaylen Fisher scored 10 for the Horned Frogs.
“Fortunately, we had Kendrich who outrebounded pretty much everybody,” said TCU coach Jamie Dixon. “We’ve got to get better in 24 hours.”
Sam Logwood led the Lobos (2-3), who dropped their third straight game, with a career-high 27 points. Chris McNeal and Antino Jackson added 12 each.
“I don’t believe in moral victories, but this is as close to one as we need right now,” said New Mexico coach Paul Weir. “It would have been great to get these guys a win given how our last two games have gone, but you have to tip your cap to TCU.”
New Mexico bolted to a 9-0 lead in the first two minutes of play, but TCU gradually closed the gap until a Fisher layup put the Horned Frogs ahead for good 24-23 at the 6:35 mark of the first half.
The Frogs expanded their advantage to 13 points in the second half, but the Lobos closed the gap to 2 points on a three-point shot by McNeal with 10.8 seconds remaining. McNeal, though, missed a potential game-winner as time ran out.
Fisher, who led TCU in assists with five, started for the second time this season ahead of Alex Robinson, who missed the Frogs’ win over Omaha with a right foot bone bruise. Robinson came off the bench Friday but scored only two points.
TCU: The Horned Frogs continued a hot streak that began last season with their 10th consecutive victory. TCU’s top six scorers are back from the 2016-17 team that capped its season by winning the NIT championship. So far they’ve remained unranked, but an Emerald Coast title would only boost their chances of cracking the Top 25.
New Mexico: The Lobos suffered their third consecutive defeat, a streak that began with a 75-56 road loss to in-state rival New Mexico State. It’s been a disappointing start for a team that has shown an ability to score, topping 100 points in both of its victories and nearly missing that mark in a 102-96 loss to Tennessee Tech.
The two schools played for the first time since 2012, an 83-64 TCU victory, when both were members of the Mountain West Conference. The Horned Frogs then departed for the Big 12. New Mexico now leads the series 16-7.
TCU: The Horned Frogs will seek a second straight regular-season tournament title Saturday against Maryland or St. Bonaventure. The Frogs last season won the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas.
New Mexico: The Lobos will try to snap their losing streak against Maryland or St. Bonaventure in the tournament’s consolation game on Saturday.NICEVILLE, Fla. — Kenrich Williams led Texas Christian with 23 points Friday as the Horned Frogs advanced to the Emerald Coast Classic title game with a narrow 69-67 victory over New Mexico.