JaKobe Coles’ heroics take TCU past Arizona State in NCAA Tournament opener

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

With two seconds left, JaKobe Coles hit a running layup in the lane completing one of the biggest comebacks of the day.

At one point it looked like Arizona State would be on the verge of blowing TCU out of the Ball Arena, but Mike Miles Jr. refused to let his team go home in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

TCU trailed 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 hat trick. Miles made it 67-64 with a hard inside layup with just over two minutes left.

Afterwards, Miles picked up a charge on the Sun Devils’ next possession to drive the ball back to TCU with 2:01 remaining.

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

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

The star guard split free throws giving TCU a 70-67 lead. The drama didn’t end as DJ Horne hit a triple from the top of the key to tie it at 70 with 12.4 seconds remaining, setting the moment for Coles.

Miles did what was expected of him as he was the best player on the court. Miles came out strong scoring 16 points in the first half, including two 3-pointers. In the second half Miles struggled through pain to help TCU 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 five minutes, blocked a would-be dunk by a much taller Arizona State player, and even tied a late-game charge.

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

TCU looked great to cruise against Arizona State as the Horned Frogs jumped out to a 13-2 lead. Miles and O’Bannon combined to score 10 as TCU made its first four shots from the field.

TCU held a 15-4 lead into the first media timeout. Since that time, the tone of the game has changed dramatically.

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

The two teams continued their back-and-forth fun with each team taking a one-point lead only for the other to take it right back.

The Sun Devils began to fall apart late in the half after a pair of free throws by Brennan made it 37-33.

Miles countered with a poster smashed into a defender, but Miles limped into the play and had to briefly exit the game before returning. Arizona State outscored TCU 7-2 in the final 1:14 to take a 44-37 lead at halftime.

The Sun Devils shot nearly 60% from the field in one of the best offensive performances of the season.

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