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TCU shoots 75 percent in second half to beat Air Force

FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU didn't do much right when it was routed by Air Force last month.

In the second half Saturday, the Horned Frogs were nearly flawless as they shot 75 percent in a 71-66 upset of Air Force (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 AP) that ended an 11-game losing streak.

TCU (11-15, 3-11 Mountain West) was 14-of-43 from the floor and turned the ball over 19 times in losing 72-39 to Air Force on Jan. 23.

But it was a far different story this time around as the Horned Frogs hit 15-of-20 shots and scored 46 points after halftime against the nation's second-leading scoring defense.

"We were trying to attack offensively if we had them backpedaling and show patience if we didn't," TCU head coach Neil Dougherty said. "There were some timely baskets that give your team extra energy and takes the wind out of the sails of the other team. I think that happened a couple of times."

TCU had lost six straight games to ranked opponents dating back to a 71-46 win over Louisville on Feb. 17, 2004.

The Horned Frogs had not won since Jan. 6 when they beat Utah 71-68. Over the 11-game slide, TCU had lost by an average of nearly 15 points.

"This was a special win for us," TCU forward Kevin Langford said. "We have the talent to beat all these teams. We just did the right things to get the win."

Air Force (23-6, 10-5) has lost five of its last six conference road games.

The Falcons failed for the second time this week to equal their school record with 24 wins. They shot a season-low 30 percent in losing 60-50 to UNLV on Tuesday.

"To be honest, we haven't been very sharp," Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "But we still have a lot of basketball left. We hope to play like we're capable of playing."

Matt McCraw scored 17 points, Nick Welch had 15 and Jacob Burtschi added 14 for the Falcons.

Ryan Wall scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half for TCU, Alvardo Parker added 12 and Brent Hackett had 11.

After hitting just 10-of-25 shots in the first half, the Horned Frogs finished the game shooting 56 percent from the field.

"We shot very well this game," Wall said. "We changed up some stuff on defense and executed the game plan."

The game was tied at 32 early in the second half before Parker started a 16-7 run with a layup. Hackett hit two straight 3-pointers to put TCU ahead 40-35, and Parker capped the spurt with a dunk that gave the Horned Frogs a 48-39 advantage.

The Falcons got within 50-45 when Welch hit two free throws with 8:11 remaining. But the Horned Frogs went on a 9-2 run over the next 4:21 which Wall finished when he hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.

This was TCU's most significant win since joining the Mountain West last season. The Horned Frogs improved to 5-25 in conference games over the last two seasons.

"Give them credit," Bzdelik said. "Coach Dougherty had his team very much prepared. They really got after us."

TCU jumped out to an 18-7 lead in the game's first 10 minutes before Air Force responded.

The Falcons went on a 14-2 run to take a 21-20 lead.

Air Force led 24-21 with 2 minutes left in the first half, but Femi Ibikunle and Andre Owens had consecutive baskets to put TCU ahead at halftime.