The 6-seeded TCU Horned Frogs gave 3-seed Gonzaga all they could handle on Sunday night, but the Bulldogs pulled out what became a fairly comfortable win to advance to the Sweet 16.
After trailing by double digits in the first half, the Zags chopped the lead down to five at halftime. In the second half, they steadily whittled away at the TCU advantage, finally taking the lead of their own with 11:36 to play. From that point, TCU would never regain the lead, but there was significant spread drama in Denver, as Gonzaga closed as 4.5-point favorites. From the 3:47 mark to the :05 mark in the second half, Gonzaga was covering as the lead never dipped below five. However, a Rondel Walker three cut it back down to four with five seconds left, but TCU then fouled Hunter Sallis with 0.7 on the clock for some very important free throws to some.
After Sallis nailed both, it seemed like TCU bettors would be the ones wondering what happened to what looked like a potential outright winner at halftime. However, Damion Baugh then let the ball roll all the way into the frontcourt as Gonzaga just ignored him, picked it up, and drilled a 35-footer at the buzzer to make the final score 84-81, giving TCU backers a cover, if nothing else.
The best part is Avery Johnson chuckling as they go through the handshake line, knowingly saying “somebody is gonna be disappointed at the end,” as he clearly was aware of the spread drama at stake. It isn’t really a “bad beat” given TCU was winning early and was also covering as late as five seconds left before a pair of free throws inside a second to play, but still, that’s one Gonzaga bettors were surely counting once the first free throw went through only to have it ripped away in stunning fashion.
The scene in Vegas was what you’d expect as a lot of people saw money swing one way or another on that Baugh heave.
It was quite the end to the first weekend of Madness on the men’s side that saw some wild outright outcomes, but saved the wildest spread swing of the weekend for last.