No. 13 Texas, TCU look to maintain momentum
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No. 13 Texas returns home on Saturday against TCU with hopes of adding to its NCAA Tournament resume in the Big 12 Conference game in Austin, Texas.
The Longhorns (12-5, 6-4 in Big 12 play) snapped a three-game losing streak with an 80-77 win at Kansas State on Tuesday behind Andrew Jones' 24 points. Texas hit all six of its free throws in the final 20 seconds to secure the victory.
"Being able to come down the stretch and make some free throws was big for us," Texas coach Shaka Smart said after Tuesday's win. "When you get to this time of year, it's about finding a way to win on the road.
"There are a lot of things we need to do better defensively after giving up 77 points, but I'm proud of our guys for hanging in there down the stretch."
Jones topped the 20-point mark for the fifth time in Texas' 10 conference games this season. He shot 8-for-14 from the field, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range, and went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
The Longhorns' Greg Brown III added 17 points, including a career-best 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Courtney Ramey had 14 points and five assists, and Matt Coleman III added 10 points and a game-high seven assists.
Texas' losses over the past three weeks have been at home to No. 24 Oklahoma and No. 3 Baylor, and on the road against Oklahoma State. Smart knows his team must play better to beat the Big 12's best teams.
"In none of our recent games have we been terrific on both ends in the same game, which is what you need to beat the very best teams," Smart said.
The Horned Frogs (11-7, 4-5) head to Austin on the heels of a 79-76 win at home over Iowa State in which TCU had 51 rebounds, its most in a Big 12 Conference game.
TCU's RJ Nembhard had a team-high 20 points despite going 4-for-16 from the floor. PJ Fuller and Taryn Todd each had 11 points for the Horned Frogs. Center Kevin Samuel added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"The Big 12 is no pushover, and Iowa State is a good team," Nembhard said of Tuesday's win. "Teams aren't going to lay down whether you're in first place or last place. You've got to come with your A game every night."
TCU has won back-to-back conference games for the first time this season, and the first time since it started 3-0 in Big 12 play last season. The Horned Frogs' winning streak follows in the wake of five straight losses.
Against Iowa State, Nembhard converted a three-point play to give TCU a 71-66 lead with 2:21 remaining, and the Horned Frogs held on for the win against Iowa State's pressing defense.
"We ran a couple different press breaks," TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. "Everyone was on the same page. We've been pretty good against the press."
TCU was without Mike Miles, its second-leading scorer at 14.8 points per game. He missed the game with an illness that is not related to COVID-19, according to TCU. Francisco Farabello (5.3 ppg) also missed the game as he works his way through COVID-19 protocols.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 11, 2021