Late 3 lifts TCU over UC Irvine 59-58 for Dixon’s 400th win
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - RJ Nembhard hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left while scoring a career-high 20 points, lifting TCU to a 59-58 victory over UC Irvine on Thursday night.
The Horned Frogs (4-0) scored the final six points of the game - both on 3s from Nembhard - to give coach Jamie Dixon his 400th career victory in his fourth season at his alma mater after spending 13 years at Pittsburgh.
Freshman Jeron Artest gave the Anteaters a lead that looked like it might hold up on a 3-pointer with about eight minutes remaining.
The son of former NBA player Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, had his highest-scoring game with seven points. He played in the first five games for Irvine (3-3) before getting his first start. Collin Welp led the Anteaters with 14 points.
Nembhard was 7 of 18 from the field, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range. He was 4 of 7 from long range in the second half, when he scored 15 points. Desmond Bane scored 11 for TCU.
Eyassu Worku scored 12 points for the Anteaters, and Brad Greene had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Greene’s bucket gave Irvine its biggest lead at 57-53 with 1:51 remaining. Nembhard answered with a 3-pointer at the other end, and hit the decisive 3 in transition from the top of the key after John Edgar Jr. missed two free throws with 12 seconds remaining.
UC Irvine: It’s been a solid start for the Anteaters coming off a school-record 31 wins, including Irvine’s first NCAA Tournament victory. The formula is similar. After finishing fourth in field-goal percentage defense last season at 38.2 percent, opponents are shooting just 36.4 so far.
TCU: Kevin Samuel, the other returning starter alongside Bane, had his fast start to the season slowed by foul trouble. The sophomore picked up his fourth foul midway through the second half and finished with four points and three rebounds in 13 minutes, after becoming the first TCU player in 25 years to open a season with three consecutive double-doubles.
Both teams go to the MGM Resorts Main Event in Las Vegas for two games, starting Sunday. Irvine plays Detroit, and TCU faces Clemson.
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