Mens Basketball: TCU vs Texas - D1SportsNet


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Mens basketball

TCU vs Texas

It's just the fourth game of the Big 12 Conference season, but No. 16 TCU and Texas will feel a sense of desperation to win when the teams play Wednesday in a crucial Big 12 matchup at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

The Horned Frogs and Longhorns are 1-2 in conference play and in a pack of five teams with two losses. They trail No. 2 West Virginia and eighth-ranked Texas Tech, who are undefeated in Big 12 play and atop the standings.

While there are still 15 conference games to play, neither can afford to fall too far off the pace with the quality of play from top to bottom in the Big 12.

Both of the Horned Frogs' losses came at home by a combined five points to teams ranked in the top 12 in the Associated Press poll. The latest loss was an 88-84 defeat against No. 12 Kansas on Saturday in which the Horned Frogs fought back from a 14-point first-half deficit to take a brief lead with under five minutes to play.

Vladimir Brodziansky led TCU (13-2, 1-2) with 20 points, Jaylen Fisher had 18 points and Desmond Bane 13 before fouling out. Kenrich Williams had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

TCU was trying for its first 2-1 start in the Big 12 after opening with a one-point home loss to then-No. 12 Oklahoma and a three-point overtime road win against Baylor.

"We're right there," Bane said when asked about the Horned Frogs' play in their first three conference games. "We've just got to be able to make the plays down the stretch and finish games."

It was the first time they trailed at halftime this season and the fewest points in an opening half for the Horned Frogs. TCU had 10 first-half turnovers after averaging less that that number combined in its previous five games

TCU coach Jamie Dixon said defense and fouls were the real difference-makers against Kansas.

"Our defense is not where we need to be," Dixon said. "We continue to bail people out and get them to the free throw line. That's our second disappointing loss, but we got what we deserved. We did the things we didn't want to do."

Texas has lost to Kansas at home and on the road to Baylor, the latter on Saturday when the Longhorns went the final 5:03 without scoring in a 69-60 defeat to the Bears.

"Our guys had a good level of momentum in terms of our competitive spirit and the way we were communicating and attacking, but then we got tentative," Texas coach Shaka Smart said after the loss to Baylor. "We passed up a couple shots that were really good looks that we need to take, and then we didn't execute. When you combine not being aggressive enough, being too tentative, and not executing in the right way, that's what led to our offensive struggles."

Freshman forward Mohamed Bamba has averaged 16 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.8 blocks in 33 minutes while making 27 of 48 shots from the field (.563) in the Longhorns' past four games. He narrowly missed his fourth straight double-double on Saturday, posting 15 points, nine rebounds and five blocks at Baylor.

Bamba leads the Big 12 and ranks second nationally in blocks per game (4.57 bpg).

"We just came out and got uptight," Bamba said about the loss to Baylor. "We didn't execute at the level we're capable of executing on the offensive end. We got the stops and we were hoping that those would lead to momentum to get a good shot, but it just didn't, so we just have to execute better."

Texas leads the all-time series 107-65, but TCU has won three of the last four, including both games last season. Before that, the Longhorns had won 11 straight dating to the Southwest Conference era.