No. 9 Texas, No. 22 TCU clash with much at stake
Playing a big game on Saturday at then-No. 9 Baylor, Texas jumped out to an 18-4 lead and saw the Bears lose leading scorer Keyonte George for the rest of the game with an ankle injury.
Which made the Longhorns’ eventual 81-72 road loss to the Bears even more perplexing. The Longhorns gave up an 18-0 run in the first half to cede control of the game and made enough mistakes to keep Baylor in command. They committed 15 turnovers and were outrebounded 37-25.
“It was really a lot of self-inflicted situations,” interim coach Rodney Terry said to sum up his team’s performance.
Now Texas, ranked No. 9 this week, will attempt to clean up its brand of play Wednesday night and stay alive for at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title when it takes on No. 22 TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Longhorns’ quest for their first Big 12 regular season crown since 2008 comes down to a win in this one and another win in Saturday’s regular season finale against No. 3 Kansas at home. Do that and tack on another win or two in the Big 12 tourney next week and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament is a real possibility.
Fail to do that, lose early in the Big 12 tournament and Texas (22-7, 11-5 Big 12) could fall down the seed line to No. 3 or even No. 4. So there’s plenty at stake in the penultimate regular season matchup.
There’s also some incentive for TCU (19-10, 8-8). It can build its NCAA Tournament resume with wins over Texas and Oklahoma in the final week of the regular season, then another win or two at the Big 12 tournament.
The Horned Frogs did some heavy lifting on the road Saturday, closing what was a dreary February with an 83-82 win over Texas Tech. Mike Miles Jr. scored 24 points and Emanuel Miller contributed a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double.
TCU coach Jamie Dixon said Miles was more in sync in his third game back in the lineup after missing five games with a hyperextended right knee.
“I kind of said that we needed probably two games under (his) belt,” Dixon said. “That’s just how the world works when you’re out that long.”
A win over Texas would allow TCU to avoid playing on the first day of the conference tournament and also would give it a one-game lead on Iowa State for fifth place in the Big 12. That would be important since the Cyclones own the tiebreaker because they swept the season series.
Winning at Texas Tech was important for many reasons, not the least of which was that the Horned Frogs did so while shorthanded. Center Eddie Lampkin sat out with an ankle injury; it’s not known if he’ll be able to return against Texas.
But Miller and JaKobe Coles helped take up the slack inside. In fact, Coles supplied the winning free throws with 4.3 seconds remaining after TCU coughed up a 12-point lead in the final eight minutes.
Texas is aiming for a sweep of the season series after rallying from a 13-point halftime deficit to post a 79-75 win on Jan. 14 in Austin behind 17 points from Timmy Allen.
–Field Level Media