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Sports >  NCAA basketball

JaKobe Coles’ heroics lifts TCU past Arizona State in NCAA tournament opener

March 17, 2023 Updated Fri., March 17, 2023 at 11:23 p.m.

TCU’s Mike Miles Jr. reacts after his first-half 3-pointer against Arizona State during the Horned Frogs’ 72-70 first-round win in NCAA Tournament play at Ball Arena in Denver.  (Tribune News Service)
TCU’s Mike Miles Jr. reacts after his first-half 3-pointer against Arizona State during the Horned Frogs’ 72-70 first-round win in NCAA Tournament play at Ball Arena in Denver. (Tribune News Service)
By Steven Johnson Tribune News Service

DENVER – TCU rallied from an 11-point deficit to stun Arizona State 72-70 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night.

With 2 seconds remaining, JaKobe Coles hit a running laying up in the lane to complete one of the biggest comebacks of the day.

At one point it seemed like Arizona State was going to be on the verge of blowing out TCU in Ball Arena, but Mike Miles Jr. refused to let his team go home.

TCU will meet Gonzaga at 6:40 p.m. Sunday.

TCU fell behind by double digits early in the second half, but with 4:20 remaining, TCU cut the deficit to 65-60 after a Chuck O’Bannon 3-pointer. Miles made it 67-64 with a tough layup inside with just over 2 minutes remaining.

Miles drew a charge on the next Sun Devils possession to get TCU the ball back with 2:01 remaining.

Miles found an open Damion Baugh for the tying 3-pointer in the corner. Baugh later added two free throws to put TCU ahead 69-67 with 34.7 seconds remaining.

Arizona State had a chance to tie it but missed a shot at the rim as Miles secured the rebound.

The star guard split two free throws, giving TCU a 70-67 edge. The drama wasn’t done as ASU’s DJ Horne hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie it at 70 with 12.4 seconds remaining, setting up the moment for Coles.

Miles did what was expected of him as he was the best player on the floor. Miles came out hot, scoring 16 points in the first half including two 3-pointers. In the second half, Miles had to grit through pain to help TCU try to overcome an 11-point deficit.

He did a little bit of everything in the second half to try and keep TCU alive. He made clutch baskets in the final 5 minutes, blocked a would-be dunk by a much taller Arizona State player and drew a charge late in the game.

He finished with a game-high 26 points, including 12-of-14 shooting from the foul line.

TCU looked prime to cruise against Arizona State as the Horned Frogs jumped out to a 13-2 lead.

Miles and O’Bannon combined to score 10 of those as TCU made its first four shots from the field.

TCU maintained a 15-4 edge at the first media timeout. From that point, the tone of the game changed dramatically.

Suddenly, the Sun Devils couldn’t miss from the field behind bench players Jamiya Neal and Alonzo Gaffey. Arizona State stormed back with a 9-0 run to make it a one-possession game. At one point, the Sun Devils made 7 of 8 shots to eventually take their first lead of the game, 20-19, with 9:55 left in the half.

The teams continued the entertaining back and forth with each team taking a one-point lead only for the other to snatch it right back.

The Sun Devils started to gain separation late in half after a pair of free throws from Brennan made it 37-33.

Miles answered with a dunk over a defender, but Miles came up limping on the play and had to exit the game briefly before returning. Arizona State outscored TCU 7-2 in the final 1:14 to take a 44-37 lead into halftime.

The Sun Devils shot almost 60% from the field .

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