TCU offers Wildcats chance to end road struggles

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Senior forward D.J. Johnson slams home a dunk in the first half of the Wildcats' 59-77 loss to the No. 7 Jayhawks in the first leg of the annual Sunflower Showdown on Feb. 3, 2016, inside Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The Wildcats continue their road series tonight against TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. They look to bounce back from Saturday’s tough loss in overtime against Oklahoma State. The loss was K-State’s third overtime loss this season, and it sent the Wildcats into a two-game losing skid.

The Wildcats have lost their last seven true road games. The last time the Wildcats found success away from home was in early December in a 68-66 win over Georgia.

TCU has had struggles of its own this season. The Horned Frogs sit at the bottom of the Big 12 with a 2-10 record in conference play and an overall record of 11-14. TCU’s only two Big 12 wins of the season both happened on their home court, where they slipped past Texas 58-57 in early January and defeated Oklahoma State 63-56 just over a week ago.

K-State enters Tuesday’s conference sitting eighth in the Big 12 with a record of 3-9 and an overall record of 14-11. The Wildcats lead the all-time series with the Horned Frogs 8-4.

The last time K-State and TCU squared off was the opening round of the 2015 Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri. The Horned Frogs prevailed 67-65 over a dysfunctional Wildcat team, smashing any postseason hopes for K-State.

TCU’s junior forward Chris Washburn averages 12 points per game and 6.3 boards against K-State on his career. In Washburn’s last two outings against the Wildcats, he has shot 67 percent from the field, averaging 16.5 points for both contests. So far this season, Washburn has averaged eight points per game.

Sophomore guard Chauncey Collins leads the way offensively for the Horned Frogs. He has scored in double-figures in nine of his last 12 league games and is currently averaging 10.9 points per game. The level of competition doesn’t phase Collins. In games against top-25 opponents, he averaged 13.6 points per game, as well as 44 percent from behind the arc.

If there was ever a time for the Wildcats to break their road-game drought, TCU offers the opportunity for a change in momentum. The Wildcats are averaging 71.6 points per game compared to TCU’s 66.9. TCU has given up an average of 69.3 points per game this season, putting the Horned Frogs at the bottom of the Big 12 in scoring margin at -2.4.

TCU does a decent job defending the 3-point shot, keeping opponents to an average of 32.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. To answer, the Wildcats will look inside to forwards junior D.J. Johnson and senior Stephen Hurt. Johnson has come up big for the Wildcats, leading the team in field goal percentage at 63.2 percent. Since knocking off top-ranked Oklahoma on Feb. 6, Johnson has averaged 14 points per game.

K-State will tip off against TCU at 7 p.m. today in Fort Worth, Texas.

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