Two days after edging UAA in a first-round thriller that came down to the wire, Texas Christian comfortably cruised into the Carrs-Safeway Great Alaska Shootout championship game with a semifinal win over Tulsa on Friday.
The Horned Frogs won 72-65 at Sullivan Arena, getting a game-high 17 points from junior Amric Fields, who -- despite coming off the bench in both Shootout wins -- is making a case for being the best player in the tournament.
On Wednesday, he provided a game-winning field goal with 10 seconds to play against UAA. In his 25 minutes on the court Friday, the Mountain West sixth man of the year from the 2011-12 season showed why he will likely be a candidate for the same award in the Big 12, the conference in which TCU now plays.
Fields, an imposing physical presence in the paint who can move defenders off the block seemingly at will, also plays well on the perimeter. Two of his six made field goals came from beyond the arc.
Fields missed nearly all of last season with a knee injury, and caution is part of the reason TCU coach Trent Johnson is limiting minutes for the 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward who wears a brace on his right knee.
It's also a matter of not trying to fix something that isn't broken.
"If you were winning, would you change anything?" Johnson said. "If he wants to start shooting 30 times a game, I'll let him start, as long as he makes half of them."
Fields hit one field goal in the first half, scoring four points before the break, but said his teammates encouraged him to get going in the second half.
"They told me to keep shooting," he said. "They had a lot of confidence in me."
TCU (4-2) will play the winner of Friday's late semifinal between Green Bay and Harvard in Saturday's championship game at 8:30 p.m. Neither team can look forward to that moment Fields enters the game.
Of course, the rest of the Horned Frogs also create plenty of problems for opponents.
Junior point guard Kyan Anderson showed an impressive command of the court for the second straight game, dishing seven assists to go with nine points. Brandon Parrish, a 6-6 freshman, scored five of his 15 points in the final four minutes to help close out the win, and 6-10 freshman Karviar Shepherd hauled in a game-high 10 rebounds. Though he attempted only one shot, Shepherd's hustle around the glass was a mighty contribution.
"He's one of those kids who impacts winning," Johnson said.
Tulsa (1-5) trailed 31-22 at halftime and trailed 51-35 with just more than 10 minutes to play. The Golden Hurricane was back within 10 points when it sandwiched a Stevie Repichowski 3-pointer and a layup by Marquel Curtis around a TCU free throw to make it 55-49 with around seven minutes to play.
Failure to make free throws down the stretch caused any realistic hopes of a Tulsa comeback to unravel. The Golden Hurricane missed 6 of 7 foul shots over a span of about three minutes and trailed 63-56 with 2:49 to play.
"We didn't do enough to win the game," Tulsa coach Danny Manning said. "We definitely could have shot free throws better. That wasn't the only thing."
James Woodard, who nailed a game-winning 3-pointer against Indiana State in Wednesday's first round, led Tulsa with 13 points. He drained a 3-pointer and stuffed a dunk in the final 84 seconds of Friday's loss, but it was too little to late.
Tulsa will take on the loser of the late semifinal between Green Bay and Harvard in Saturday's third-place game at 6 p.m.
Reach Jeremy Peters at email@example.com or 257-4335.
TULSA (65) -- Smith 5-23 2-3 22, Evans 2-7 0-0 4, Peete 1-1 2-2 4, Woodard 4-10 3-3 13, Harrison 2-5 2-2 6, Swilling 1-4 1-2 3, Ray 0-3 1-4 1, Curtis 4-8 0-0 8, Repichowski 2-3 1-5 7, Wright 2-5 2-2 6, Swannegan 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 24-60 13-22 65.
TCU (72) -- Parrish 6-10 2-6 15, Shepherd 0-1 4-6 4, Anderson 4-7 0-0 9, Gore 1-6 7-10 9, Ray 4-8 0-0 8, Hill 4-8 1-2 10, Williams 0-2 0-0 0, Fields 6-10 3-5 17, Price 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-52 17-29 72.
Tulsa 22 43 -- 65
TCU 31 41 -- 72
3-point goals -- Tulsa 4-16 (Evans 0-4, Woodard 2-5, Harrison 0-1, Swilling 0-3, Repichowski 2-3), TCU 5-15 (Parrish 1-3, Anderson 1-3, Gore 0-2, Hill 1-3, Williams 0-1, Fields 2-3). Rebounds -- Tulsa 38 (Woodard 7), TCU 34 (Shepherd 10). Total fouls -- Tulsa 24, TCU 21. Fouled out -- Swannegan, Shepherd, Fields. Assists -- Tulsa 16 (Harrison 3, Ray 3), TCU 19 (Anderson 7). Turnovers -- Tulsa 9 (Harrison 3), TCU 11 (Fields 6). Blocks -- Tulsa 6 (Woodard 2), TCU 2. Steals -- Tulsa 5 (Harrison 2), TCU 3. Technical foul -- Shepherd. Officials -- Flannery, Mason, Watts.