Mo Bamba

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

After just one quick season in Austin, Texas center Mo Bamba has declared for the NBA Draft, announced Tuesday afternoon. Bamba is a projected lottery pick, primarily believed to be selected in the top five.

“After an incredibly rewarding year at The University of Texas, I will not be returning to school as I will be entering the NBA Draft,” Bamba said in a statement.

This decision comes as no surprise, as Bamba has not shied away from his lofty goals of being selected in the upper echelon of the 2018 NBA Draft.

"I want to be one-and-done," Bamba told Bleacher Report in November, prior to his first collegiate game. "I want to be the No. 1 pick. I think of this as career-hunting. If you're a freshman and you get a chance to get a job at a top company, you're going to take that job."

Bamba averaged a 12.9-point, 10.5-rebound double-double in 30 games as a Longhorn. The freshman shattered numerous program block records, tallying 3.7 per game and ranking second in the country in the category. His rim protecting abilities landed him a spot on the All-Big 12 Defensive Team and he also received the honorous selection to the All-Big 12 Second Team.

Head coach Shaka Smart managed to oust blue-bloods Duke and Kentucky in a recruiting battle for the talented five-star freshman from New York. He is the second straight one-and-done in Smart’s program at Texas, following in the footsteps of Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen.

Bamba is slated to become the first top-10 draft pick from Texas since Tristan Thompson was selected fourth overall by the Cavaliers in 2011. The 2018 NBA Draft will be held in the Barclays Center in Bamba’s state of residence on June 21.

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A season of highs and lows came to an end on Friday night.

And when it did — boy, was Texas low.

After surrendering a 14-point second half lead, the Longhorns found themselves bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for a third consecutive time.

Texas now heads to the offseason with the future uncertain and its most important player on his way out.

Here are four thoughts on the loss:

Ball movement beat out individual talent

Nevada was undersized and outmanned. Three Texas players stood taller than the entire Wolf Pack roster, but better fundamental basketball won out in Nashville.

On the opening play of the game, Nevada whipped the ball through the lane and around the perimeter in a sequence of truly brilliant basketball. The team found a shooter on the wing on its second possession, completely open, to jump out to a 5-0 lead.

While the Wildcats forced the defense to rotate, Texas found the majority of its baskets on isolation opportunities and put backs. For every Bamba dunk and junior Kerwin Roach II step back, the Wolf Pack answered with backdoor cuts and complicated screen plays for shooters.

Up and down the roster Texas boasted bigger and more talented individual players. But Nevada played as five, and advanced as a result.

Bamba's foul trouble exposed Texas’ other big men defenders

When Bamba patrolled the lane, the rim was closed for business. The forward sent away and altered nearly every attempt within three feet, and quickly Nevada got the memo.

Only once in regulation did a member of the Wolf Pack try to meet Bamba at the rim.

Just once.

When they did, Bamba snatched the ball out of the air with almost comical ease, foiling the dunk attempt and ending the possession.

But over the course of three minutes, with time dwindling in the second half, Bamba picked up his second foul, then his third, then his fourth. For much of the remaining time in regulation and all of overtime Texas’ rim protector watched from the bench as Osetkowski and Sims put up all of the resistance of a sieve holding back water.

Osetkowski didn’t pick up a foul for himself until the game had been all but decided. On possession after possession the forward allowed his man to find the rim on backdoor cuts and drives to the rim.

Osetkowski played as if he was the one in foul trouble, and the defensive lapses with Bamba sidelined exposed the slower Longhorn big men.

Even in a loss, Bamba outclassed his opponents

Texas may have been the lower seed, but it certainly wasn’t the underdog. And indeed, according to ESPN, less than half of the submitted brackets picked Nevada to win.

Bamba towered over every other player on the floor, exerting his will on both ends.

Early in the contest the forward muscled his way past a noticeably smaller defender and made a reverse dunk when the defense rotated to contest.

To the 17,552 people in attendance and the millions more watching at home, it was abundantly clear that Bamba was far and away the best player on the floor. But time and time again Texas failed to find its big man under the rim.

Bamba only took 11 shots in 31 minutes, most of which came on putbacks. His limited impact against a team who he should have dominated only highlighted the Longhorn disconnect.

Texas isn’t built to win shootouts

All season long, shooting, specifically threes, has been the achilles heel for this squad. Texas has hung its hat on defensive intensity and interior presence.

By the end of the game on Friday, that strategy had been thrown out the window in favor of a run and gun style. The Longhorns tried to match pace with Nevada, a team whose lack of size has forced them to embrace an offense of uptempo pace and lots of threes.

In overtime, the two teams were simply trading baskets. Bamba’s absence played a role, but Texas abandoned its identity, and in doing so, tried to beat Nevada at its own game.

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A 14-point second-half lead, career performances by guards Matt Coleman and Kerwin Roach II and a lopsided height advantage in the paint — the 10-seeded Texas Longhorns had everything pointed in their favor in the second half of their opening March Madness game against 7-seeded Nevada.

But minute by minute, the Wolf Pack scratched, clawed and erased the Longhorns’ dreams of attaining their first tournament victory since 2014.

A dejected Texas team trotted off the court empty-handed, wondering about the what-ifs and could-haves. The season concluded to the tune of an 87-83 overtime loss to Nevada.

“In a game like today, we need to add one or two more winning plays,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “That's the difference. One more stop, one more rebound. It's a cruel, hard assessment. But in games like this that go in overtime — and we've been in as many as anyone in the country — one play does make the difference.”

Nevada’s impeccable 6-of-6 shooting in the overtime period completed the Wolf Pack’s dramatic comeback over the Longhorns in Nashville. But to even get to the overtime period, Nevada asserted its physicality in the final seconds, down 68-67.

Just 3.8 seconds away from defeat, Nevada power forward Jordan Caroline showed no fear of freshman center Mo Bamba, posting the 7-footer up and drawing a crucial foul call in the paint. Bamba, who entered halftime with zero fouls, fouled out in presumably his final collegiate game.

Caroline’s first free throw bricked off the back iron. His second, with the season on the line, sunk through the fibers of the net. The Longhorns turned the ball over on an errant inbounds pass, giving Nevada an unlikely chance to win in regulation.

Caleb Martin airballed the buzzer-beating three, but that would be the Wolf Pack’s final miss from the floor Friday evening.

“I just think that us fighting and Jordan going up and hitting the big free throw to tie it up to go into overtime gave us confidence,” Nevada small forward Caleb Martin said. “You could kind of tell when we walked back on the floor, you could tell the energy of (Texas) was low.”

Despite Bamba’s absence, overtime opened up in a favorable manner for the Longhorns. Coleman, who had a career-high 25 points, drilled a three on the first possession and Roach, who finished with a career-high 26, followed it up with his second 4-point play of the day — nailing a triple from the corner and drawing contact.

“During (overtime), I was just trying to impact, you know, rub some energy off my teammates, try and impact the game as much as possible even from the sideline,” Bamba said.

Texas led 77-73, but Nevada’s long-distance shooting caught fire at the optimal time.

“Across the board, we just got guys that have played in hostile environments,” Nevada point guard Kendall Stephens said of the chaotic start to overtime. “We've been there before so we know that all we need is a chance. We're confident. Once we get back down the court, we're able to score effectively, and that's what we did.”

The Wolf Pack converted on three Caleb Martin threes in the extended period, creating disarray in Texas’ defense. Trailing 85-80, Roach wound up connecting on an NBA range three, but the clock did not allow for enough time for Texas to charge back from the deficit.

Nevada continues dancing Sunday in the second round against Cincinnati, while Texas laments on how a nine-point halftime lead and a 14-point second-half advantage with 18:42 to go evaporated so rapidly. From the 17:59 mark until 2:26 remained in overtime, the winning team did not lead once.

“Being up nine in an NCAA tournament game, you know the other team's going to really do everything they can to make a run,” Smart said. “Obviously, at that point, (Nevada) had nothing to lose. They were behind, they were attacking and we just didn't do enough to match them.”

Texas finished its season at 19–15, still without a tournament win over a higher-seeded team since 2002. The Longhorns’ roller coaster season, which featured an NCAA-high eight overtime games, concluded in Nashville.

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country and rock music echo through the streets of downtown Nashville as basketball fans previously dispersed across the nation flock together to Bridgestone Arena for a weekend full of March Madness.

For many Texas players, this will be their first rodeo. The Longhorns were devoid of college basketball’s biggest stage last March, but head coach Shaka Smart powered his young roster to 19 wins, drawing a 10-seed in the 68-team bracket. Now, the third-year head coach is searching for his first win in the tournament since stepping into the job in Austin back in 2015.

Assuming junior shooting guard Eric Davis Jr. does not play, junior swingman Kerwin Roach II is responsible for all 12 total minutes of tournament experience in Texas’ supply. But what Texas (19–14) lacks in experience, it makes up for in its formidable frontcourt duo of two newcomers — junior power forward Dylan Osetkowski and freshman center Mo Bamba, both ready to guide Texas to its first tournament victory since 2014.

“You look at some of the Texas greats like KD (Kevin Durant) and T.J. Ford and the legacy they left on the program is mainly based on what they did in March,” Bamba said. “The opportunity and the platform is there for me now. It's just my time to seize it.”

Bamba, who has been battling a toe injury for several weeks, claims he is “100 percent” for the Round of 64 contest against 7-seed Nevada (27–7) after playing just 14 minutes in Texas’ two-game Big 12 Tournament run. The NBA Draft hopeful is poised for a productive day against the mismatched Wolf Pack. Bamba stands 7-feet tall, while Nevada doesn’t boast a single player on its roster above the height of 6-foot-7.

“When that ball goes up in the air, (having something to prove is) what it's really about,” Smart said. “And (Bamba’s) very motivated. One of the things that we've tried to help him understand this season is some of the guys you're going up against on a night in, night out basis, they're a lot better than maybe you thought they were coming in.”

Texas cannot afford to overlook the higher-seeded, regular season Mountain West champion Nevada, who fell victim to a 90-73 thrashing from San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament. The Wolf Pack operate a high-octane, quick-tempoed offense, ranking 17th in the nation scoring 83.1 points per game. Nevada shoots the three-ball at a much higher rate (39.8 percent) than Texas (31.5), so Friday afternoon’s clash on the hardwood will be a struggle between differentiating styles.

“We like to say we're cosmetically pleasing at times, getting the ball up the floor as fast as we can and spacing out,” Nevada coach Eric Musselman said. “Having said that, we've got to be better than them for one game, for 40 minutes. But yeah, they're long and we're not.”

Nevada presents several challenges for the Longhorns, one of which includes guarding the duo of brothers Caleb and Cody Martin. The identical twins combine for 32.7 points, 11.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game. Shaka Smart attempted to recruit the two during his VCU tenure, but the twins instead committed to NC State, before transferring west and landing in Reno.

“The challenges that they present, they're extremely versatile,” Smart said. “They play every position for (Nevada) because of the way they play. But both of them, their natural position is kind of small forward, big wing. That's one spot we don't have.”

Smart continued on how vital the twins’ contributions are to the current state of Nevada basketball, claiming their numbers would be in the rafters had they come to VCU.

“Caleb is a phenomenal scorer. He's always been wired to score. He's extremely confident. He really gets going. His first step is very, very fast,” Smart said. “Cody is as versatile as there is in college basketball. He literally can do anything you ask a guy to do on the court, rebound, defend, play point guard, initiate offense, shoot, drive, post up. Whatever you need.”

But Smart will play the cards he was dealt to counter Nevada’s quickness, including freshman point guard Matt Coleman. Coleman’s development from November to present day has been noteworthy, and plenty of pressure will be on the 20-year old freshman to ensure Texas’ backcourt does enough to advance past Nevada and earn a ticket to the second round against Cincinnati or Georgia State on Sunday.

“As a point guard, I always want to find ways to get my big fellas involved here,” Coleman said. “So I'm going to do everything I can to always make sure their presence is felt offensively and defensively. If it's giving them the ball, making them run the floor, just getting them involved.”

Despite the team’s status as a 10-seed, the Longhorns are already dreaming big of what their 18th tournament appearance in 20 years could culminate to — a trip to San Antonio for the Final Four. Texas’ road to the Final Four starts Friday at 3:30 p.m.

“Personally, I would love to have that feeling of being a freshman, going all the way to the Final Four,” Coleman said. “That's what you dream of. You dream of playing in March and having an opportunity to actually be here is why not make the best of it?”

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

According to an updated bracket from ESPN, Texas and USC are expected to face off for a play-in game to the NCAA Tournament. After a big overtime win against No. 20 West Virginia this past Saturday, the Longhorns now stand with a record of 18–13 and a conference record of 8–10. This has been another up-and-down season for head coach Shaka Smart’s team, but the Longhorns still have this week’s Big 12 Tournament left to help with their March Madness hopes.

The seventh-seeded Longhorns tip off Wednesday evening against 10th-seeded Iowa State in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. If the Longhorns are upset by the Cyclones, a team Texas beat twice this year, it could hurt their chances to even make it into the NCAA Tournament. There is additional concern heading into the game since freshman forward Mo Bamba is still nursing his sprained toe, which caused him to miss the West Virginia game.

Smart is in his third season with Texas. After making the NCAA Tournament in his first season, Texas took a step back last year and finished with an 11–22 record. The Longhorns have been up-and-down this season, but Smart knows his team still can finish the season strong.

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

Nine short days ago, the Longhorns were on the NCAA Tournament bubble fighting for their lives. 

Texas needed two wins in its final three regular season games, and a late-season toe injury to freshman forward Mo Bamba threatened to derail any shot at a tournament bid. 

But the injury to Bamba hasn’t been all bad for the Longhorns.

Texas rose to the occasion, winning two of its final three games. In the process, the Longhorns also found a future star: freshman forward Jericho Sims.

“My future is bright,” Sims said. “I am going to have a good career here. I’m just going to keep having to, whether it is this season or the season after that, just keep on improving each year.”

Fans were treated to the Sims show on Saturday as Texas upset then-No. 20 West Virginia at home in the final game of the regular season. There, Sims rocked the rim on not one but five separate occasions, any of which could have been featured on ESPN’s nightly highlight reel. 

Sims has emerged, not just as a stand-in, but as a formidable force in his own right. 

Texas head coach Shaka Smart sees it — and coaches around the Big 12 see it, too.

“Sims is going to be really, really, really, really good in the not too distant future,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton Jr. said after Texas’ 65-64 win over the Cowboys in Austin on Feb. 24. “Shows you the type of job Shaka has done in continuing to recruit high-level guys. So even when a guy who is likely going to be a top-five pick goes down, you can still find a way to sustain and overcome.”

Sims is averaging 13 points and seven rebounds in his last three games while shooting 69 percent from the floor. On Monday, he was named the Big 12 newcomer of the week. 

Bamba, the team’s transcendental talent, averages 13 points and 10 rebounds on the season. 

Sims has been more efficient than Bamba while maintaining similar production. He has even matched Bamba’s ability to get the crowd involved with awe-inspiring plays. 

Sims and Bamba came to Texas under very different circumstances. Sims is the future of Texas — a raw talent with a high ceiling. Bamba is a one-and-done prospect for whom the 40 Acres is a brief stop before professional play. 

Sims is remarkably soft-spoken for a guy standing nearly 7 feet tall. He is a man of few words, but he maintains an air of quiet confidence. Sims and Smart have developed a close relationship off the court. 

And that relationship was a big reason why Sims chose Texas. 

“(Shaka) has described it like coaches are like parents,” Sims said. “And I think that is very true. I think that he has really made me feel comfortable here — Texas away from home. One of the reasons I came here was because I thought he was kind of like me, a guy I could relate to.”

Coming out of Minneapolis’ Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Sims had to transition from competing against small-school, Division 1A talent to facing off with the top centers every week in the deepest conference in the nation. 

Smart joked that the teams Sims played against back in Minnesota looked like “me and four of you guys,” gesturing to reporters. 

Even compared to the other freshman, Sims acknowledged that his transition was particularly difficult. A fact that has made his rapid development all the more remarkable. 

Smart has pushed Sims hard to make that happen.

“He is just scratching the tip of what he is going to be able to do,” Smart said. “He’s had a good amount of opportunity his freshman year, but it is a whole different story when Mo is not in there. Now you need him in there 30-something minutes a game, and I think that he has really embraced that. I like the way he’s attacked things.”

The team’s forwards have pushed each other as well. The group often competes one-on-one during practice. Sims said Bamba or junior forward Dylan Osetkowski usually win — but not always. 

“Sometimes I win,” Sims said with a smile. 

Sims’ teammates know what he is capable of, and they aren’t surprised by his breakout. After Sims’ recent success, junior guard Kerwin Roach II issued a warning to the rest of the conference that the flourishing forward isn’t going anywhere. 

In fact, he’s just getting started. 

“I always tell Jericho that he is cold,” Roach said. “Mo is out, but Jericho is going to step up in his place and he is going to make some noise. And you are going to see his name a lot. So be ready for it.”

Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | Daily Texan Staff

After the Longhorns’ thrilling victory over arch-rival Oklahoma at the Frank Erwin Center on Feb. 3, they were on a perfect pace to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Now, Texas has lost three straight — most recently a double overtime loss to Baylor on Monday night — and has plummeted toward the bottom of the Big 12 standings, leaving serious doubt as to whether the team can muster the strength to sneak into the big dance.

Texas is 15–11 overall and a measly 5–8 in conference, which is tied for eighth in the Big 12 standings. The Longhorns have had the lowest-scoring per-possession offense thus far in Big 12 play. Their offense has been extremely inconsistent, with the only reliable source of buckets coming from freshman forward Mo Bamba.

But Texas head coach Shaka Smart’s team has some things going for it: the Longhorns have the second-best strength of schedule and also remain in the top 50 for both RPI and BPI, which are all important factors in the committee’s selection process when the bracket is released next month.

Moving forward, Texas will hit the road to face Oklahoma, Kansas State and Kansas in addition to hosting Oklahoma State and West Virginia in Austin. That’s it — the Longhorns only have five games left plus the Big 12 tournament to decide their fate.

Texas will most likely have to win at least three of those five and do some damage in the Big 12 tournament to punch its ticket to the dance. They’re not done yet, but the Longhorns will need a valiant effort from everyone to keep the NCAA Tournament dream alive this season.

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Freshman forward Mo Bamba has emerged as Texas’ best player this season, and the stats show it’s not even close.

The NBA Draft prospect is averaging a team-high 18.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and three blocks over the last seven games. Bamba is also shooting an outrageous 51 percent from long range during this stretch. Not only is he leading the team, Bamba is leading the entire Big 12 in rebounds and blocks per game. His length and mobility simply cannot be matched by anyone in the conference.

Bamba has become a dual-threat player in the paint, inviting opposing guards to come down the lane and challenge him on defense while being patient and efficient on offense. He stretches the floor, creating his own shot in the post and snatching rebounds away from his opponents. His ability to out-rebound, even with multiple defenders in the paint, creates crucial second-chance opportunities for the Longhorn offense to score.

Despite Bamba’s dominance, Texas continues to struggle in the clutch without the presence of sophomore guard Andrew Jones. The team’s record is now 3–4 over the past seven games. However, three of the four losses have been within three points, including last night’s nailbiter defeat to Baylor. That being said, Texas would likely not even be able to compete in those close games without Bamba’s stellar play.

Moving forward, Bamba will have to keep his performance up at an all-time high to give Texas any chance at making the NCAA Tournament. His stats, as great as they are, need to translate to wins for his team now more than ever.

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

With eight seconds left on the clock in double overtime and a one-point deficit for Texas, junior guard Kerwin Roach II drove right and threw up a long runner in a desperate, final look.

But like so many of Texas’ shots on Monday evening, the floater fell short and Baylor grabbed the rebound.

Baylor 74, Texas 73.

It was a pivotal loss for a sliding Texas team that dampened any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. After posting an impressive 11–2 home record through its first 13 games, Texas has now dropped back-to-back games at the Frank Erwin Center for the first time this season.

“They are really upset,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “And some of these guys are really angry, because some of those guys put their egos aside and came together in terms of attacking and battling. But obviously we came up one stop short.”

Texas missed 11 of its first 12 shots as Baylor took an early 13-6 lead.

The Longhorns rank at the bottom of the Big 12 in 3-point shooting, a fact that Baylor took full advantage of in the opening half. Even with freshman guard Jase Febres — the team’s top marksman from three — back in the starting lineup, Texas shot a miserable 2-of-11 in the first half from deep.

The Longhorns converted on just one field goal at the midway point of the half. And even then, the points came on contested mid-range jumpers. The offense was flat.

With under 10 minutes to play in the first half, Baylor scored on an easy layup off an inbound pass, forcing Texas head coach Shaka Smart to burn a timeout. That break proved to be the turning point of the opening period.

“Particularly in the first half, they didn’t let (poor shooting) get them down,” Smart said. “We had some good looks we didn’t make. We got the ball inside pretty well a few times where we didn’t put it away. That happened a couple times.”

Out of the timeout a three by junior guard Eric Davis Jr. gave Texas a badly needed spark. Roach got a dunk off a steal, then freshman forward Mo Bamba brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous dunk off the lob from the junior guard to cut the lead to one.

Moments later, the same duo connected on an identical, yet even more spectacular, alley-oop, and Texas took its first lead since the opening seconds.

The two teams traded baskets and entered halftime separated by a single possession, with the Bears clinging to a two-point advantage.

The Longhorns missed four uncontested shots from behind the arc to open the second half, including an airball from Davis as Baylor jumped out to an early five-point lead.

But it was Bamba who set the tone again for Texas. A huge rejection on Baylor forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. led to a layup on the other end for Bamba — Texas’ first points of the second half after nearly five minutes.

Baylor maintained a two-possession advantage until the 11-minute mark. Whether it was mismatches or a lack of effort from Texas, the Bears had little trouble abusing the Longhorns on both ends of the court. Texas looked deflated as Baylor pressed the attack, pulling ahead by eight with four minutes to play.

But the Texas players kept grinding. On the heels of a technical foul by Baylor, a late three from freshman guard Matt Coleman and a scoop layup under the rim brought the Longhorns within one with 30 seconds left in regulation. Moments later, Coleman went to the line, calmly hitting two free throws to tie the game for the Longhorns at 56.

Baylor missed a final look from deep as the two teams headed into overtime. Neither squad was able to command an advantage in the ensuing five minutes. After a pair of free throws from Roach tied the game at 64, the two teams headed into a second overtime period.

Again both teams failed to create any meaningful separation.

Texas and Baylor traded layups on both ends as time ran down. With under 15 seconds to play, Baylor took a one-point lead on a dunk inside.

“I knew that Mo was going to block the shot, and I was just hoping for a good miss,” Lual-Acuil Jr. said. “And thankfully I went up and I got it.”

The late runner by Roach proved just off the mark, and Texas (15–11, 5–8 Big 12) saw its postseason hopes suffer a massive blow in disappointing fashion.

“Slow starts make it tough,” Smart said. “That being said, our guys battled and forced overtime, forced double overtime. But even as we took the lead, they weren’t able to stop them.”

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

FORT WORTH — February marks the last whole month of the college basketball regular season, and there’s only one thing teams fight for — an NCAA Tournament bid.

With TCU having dropped two straight and Texas having lost a heartbreaker at home to Kansas State on Wednesday night, Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the two in-state foes was welcomed with high stakes. But the Horned Frogs left little doubt of their worthiness in their home arena, thrashing Texas, 87-71.

“If we go out and play and bring the same level of spirit and energy to the court that we did today, it really doesn’t matter who we play in the Big 12,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said, “because everybody is good enough to beat that team that played today.”

After tipoff, two immediate Texas turnovers were exchanged for a quick 5-0 TCU lead. The Horned Frogs controlled the game from that moment until the final horn sounded at Schollmaier Arena, never allowing their lead to shrink below eight in the second half.

“We knew that we were gonna have to come in here and make them miss and grab the ball,” Smart said. “We didn’t do either of those things at anywhere near a high enough level in order to win the game.”

TCU sliced and diced Texas’ defense in every way imaginable. The Horned Frogs came out of the gate firing from 3-point range to build a respectable lead in the early stages. Then, TCU began penetrating the lane, passing quickly and finding cutters for open layups.

TCU shooting guard Kenrich Williams and point guard Alex Robinson were key facilitators, and 6-foot-11 power forward Vladimir Brodziansky dominated on post moves to score 25 on the Texas bigs.

“We’re a team that shoots the ball well from three, but it really all starts with penetration,” TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said. “To be as good as we are offensively, you have to do a lot of things well and you have to be well-rounded. We can drive it, we can post up, score inside and we can shoot threes. The combination allows us to be pretty good.”

TCU reverted to draining threes late in the second half and ended up converting on 10 triples during the 16-point win.

“We didn’t show enough intensity,” freshman center Mo Bamba said. “We were basically just hoping they’d miss.”

Although Texas’ defense struggled to contain the Horned Frogs throughout the 40 minutes, the Longhorns unleashed one of their best offensive showings of the year.

Two facets of Texas’ offense were highly functional — Bamba, and surprisingly, the 3-point shooting. Bamba, who has consistently been efficient during the last month, pitched in 23 points in the Longhorns’ highest-scoring road game since Jan. 1.

Texas entered the game shooting just 31 percent from long range, but the team excelled by sinking 10-of-20 threes, including a handful that seemed from NBA range. But TCU’s offense managed to respond every time Texas’ shooters caught fire.

“It was really draining. They made a couple in the second half that were really good defense,” Smart said. “TCU’s a really good team. They move the ball and attack. We needed to do a better job of running them off the line and playing with active hands.”

Texas (15–10, 5–7 Big 12) has dropped two games in a row and five consecutive matchups on the road. The Longhorns’ upcoming schedule bodes unfavorably for a potential NCAA Tournament invitation, but the team can reverse this sudden decline by winning difficult upcoming games.

It will be a quick turnaround, as the Longhorns host Baylor on Monday night.

“This is adversity right here,” junior guard Eric Davis Jr. said. “It’s gonna show what we’re about as a team individually. We’re gonna stay together and get it right.”