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.”

Photo Credit: Katie Bauer | Daily Texan Staff

No. 8 Texas has lost to four different teams this season, but TCU was different.

When TCU sophomore guard Kianna Ray hit a pair of free throws to take a 79-77 lead over the Longhorns on Jan. 10 in Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs became the first non-ranked team of the year to beat Texas. The loss stung.

“You definitely feel a little more motivated,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said on Saturday. “We wanted to win today.”

Texas got its revenge on Saturday in a 92-65 win over No. 22 TCU at the Frank Erwin Center.

The Longhorns set the tone defensively from the opening possession.

TCU won the tip and gave junior center Jordan Moore control on the first shot of the game. Moore drove into the lane but was met by senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron Goudreau. Moore raised her arms for a layup. Caron-Goudreau did the same to stop it and knocked the ball away.

Junior guard Lashann Higgs missed a jumpshot on the next play, and the Horned Frogs zoomed back down on offense. This time, TCU sophomore forward Adeola Akomolafe took her turn to drive inside. Caron-Goudreau swatted the ball again.

“She helps us a lot,” senior guard Ariel Atkins said. “I think she’s taken it personal that we haven’t particularly guarded posts well in the past. She’s been doing things in the game that haven’t been showing up on the stat sheet … It’s just a credit to her and her attention to detail.”

The Horned Frogs struggled to score for the rest of the first quarter. A pair of free throws from freshman guard Lauren Heard and a layup from junior guard Dakota Vann were the only shots that fell in.

Texas went into the second quarter with a 27-4 lead. TCU had more turnovers — seven — than it did points.

The defensive prowess wasn’t sustainable, even as the Longhorns began utilizing a full-court press. The Horned Frogs scored 20 points in the second quarter, but by then the game had already been decided.

Atkins and fellow senior guard Brooke McCarty led the team with 16 points each. The duo had an answer for every puzzling defender TCU threw their way.

“I had a talk with Coach this week and my teammates this week and it’s just — I’m thinking too much,” McCarty said. “(Today) I think I just fed off of my teammates and just kind of let everything go out the window.”

Caron-Goudreau finished with seven points, four rebounds and a career-high six blocks. The victory proved to the team how dominant Texas can be.

“I thought our team was pretty special today,” Aston said. “Lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm, shared the ball and really seemed somewhat connected. I could nitpick on a few things, but I did think that, for the most part, it was a pretty complete performance for our team.”

The Longhorns will travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, on Monday to take on the Mountaineers. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

With Texas fans and players still reeling from Wednesday morning’s announcement, the Longhorns hit the hardwood for their second Big 12 home game of the season.

It was a day bigger than basketball.

Nine hours earlier, the team announced sophomore guard Andrew Jones had been diagnosed with leukemia and was undergoing treatment.

The players sported temporary “AJ1” patches on their white jerseys in honor of their absent teammate. Fans erupted in cheers when Jones’ name appeared on the jumbotron during the game. Shirts with the hashtag “JonesStrong” could be seen around the arena as the Longhorns faced off with No. 16 TCU at the Frank Erwin Center.

Two overtimes and several career performances later, Texas escaped at the buzzer as a layup by TCU guard Jaylen Fisher fell off the front of the rim. The Longhorns earned a 99-98 upset win, their first over the Horned Frogs in the last three meetings between the two programs.

“I could feel an energy from our crowd tonight because of Andrew,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “They really understood it was a game we wanted to go win for him, and they were a big part of that.”

Texas was also without a second piece of its starting lineup. Junior guard Kerwin Roach II sat out with a left hand injury, prompting a three big-man start with junior forward Dylan Osetkowski embracing a role on the wing.

Without two of their top scorers from the guard position, the Longhorns needed a special effort from its supporting cast. And that’s exactly what they got.

Freshman guard Matt Coleman scored 17 points and dished out a career-high 12 assists. Along with career-highs in points from junior guard Eric Davis Jr. and freshman forward Jericho Sims, the Longhorns rallied after losing a late lead to move to 2-2 in Big 12 play.

“I wanted everyone in the building, the team to realize that this isn’t about us,” Davis said. “It's about (Andrew). And like Matt said, playing with joy. He was just with us. He’s fighting a different battle. We still have to fight. I wanted to show everyone that it's deeper than basketball. And just enjoy it.”

Coleman looked aggressive from the opening possession. Burdened with carrying the bulk of the ball-handling and playmaking duties, the freshman point guard sliced through the defense with a long floater to give Texas the first points of the contest. A play later, Coleman found Sims for an easy bucket in the lane, one of his eight first-half assists.

Sophomore guard Jacob Young entered the game and scored five in a row to help Texas jump out to an early 18-8 advantage. Texas started a white-hot 7-of-8 from the floor, including two threes.

Everyone had it going in the first half. Freshman guard Jase Febres, coming off a career-high 18 points against Baylor, started 2-2 from deep to help Texas pull ahead 21-14. Texas headed to halftime up 10, looking dominant after 20 minutes.

The Longhorns executed out of the break with surgical precision. After two games with a clear second-half slump, Texas was locked in during the first five minutes and appeared poised to run away with it.

Freshman forward Mo Bamba recorded a block on the opening possession of the second half, and Coleman immediately got to the line on the other end and drilled both shots to add to the lead. Texas pulled ahead by double-digits, 51-38, on a pair of buckets in the paint.

With every TCU run, Texas seemingly had an answer. Osetkowski completed an and-one to put the Longhorns ahead by eight with 11 minutes left.

But as time ticked on, the momentum slowly shifted in favor of the Horned Frogs. With 10 minutes to play, TCU moved to full-court pressure to try and shake up the Longhorn rhythm, beginning to chip away at the lead.

TCU guard Kenrich Williams cut the Texas lead to five with a huge 3-pointer, then made a free throw to cut it to just four. With seven minutes left the Longhorns were up 63-61 and could only look up and wonder how they had let the lead get away.

TCU completed its furious comeback to tie the game at 77 with time expiring in regulation. Coleman had an off-balance look from deep but it was just short and the two teams headed into overtime.

Davis hit a three early in extra minutes to reclaim the lead. The Horned Frogs answered with a putback before hitting a three of their own to go up by two with two minutes to play. Texas used its final timeout to draw up a play, and Osetkowski buried a three in the corner off the assist from Davis to keep the Longhorns’ hopes alive.

TCU managed to force a second overtime off an uncontested jumper from the elbow, but Bamba fouled out.

With five seconds left in the second extra period, Sims headed to the line. The game was tied. He sank the first shot but the second clanked off the back iron, and TCU called timeout with an opportunity to win the game with a bucket.

But through fortune, fate or an unfriendly roll, the final layup at the buzzer was off the mark, and Texas (11–5, 2–2 Big 12) escaped with the upset at home.

“I think everyone left everything they could on the floor tonight,” Osetkowski said. “For one reason. That was a big win for us.”

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

The Horned Frogs had completely lost track of time.

After slowing the pace and dribbling around the top of the arc late in the third quarter, no player recognized that the shot clock was down to five seconds. The ball casually swung around, ultimately landing in the hands of TCU sophomore forward Adeola Akomolafe.

With just two seconds left on the shot clock, Akomolafe saw the time and quickly launched what was only her second 3-point attempt of the season.

Texas head coach Karen Aston watched as the ball sailed and hit its mark, finding the bottom of the net as the shot clock expired with 1:11 left in the quarter. It was that kind of night for Texas.

The Longhorns suffered their second loss of the season on Wednesday night in Fort Worth, falling to TCU, 79-77.

After entering the second quarter with a comfortable 22-14 lead, Texas was ambushed by a 13-1 TCU run. In just four minutes, the Longhorns found themselves down 27-23.

It got worse.

The Horned Frogs piled it on, lighting up the Longhorns for 26 points in the second quarter and entering the half with a 40-31 lead.

Texas came out with a sense of desperation to start the third quarter, stifling TCU’s offense with a half-court press.

The Longhorns also found their range as senior forward Audrey-Ann Caron-Goudreau drained a three to cap off an 11-2 run and tie the score at 42 with 8:01 left in the quarter. But TCU kept its cool, regaining the lead and entering the fourth quarter up 60-57.

The final quarter could only be described as madness. Both teams battled, resulting in a 71-71 standstill with 1:17 left to go.

After getting fouled while diving for a loose ball, sophomore guard Alecia Sutton went to the free throw line. Sutton had only shot 40 percent from the line on the season, but she calmly sank both free throws to give Texas a 73-71 lead. TCU senior guard Toree Thompson answered on the following play, creating separation from senior guard Brooke McCarty and draining a step-back three with 53 seconds left.

With the pressure now on Texas, senior guard Ariel Atkins elevated from mid-range, nailing the jumper to put the Longhorns back on top, 75-74, with 39 seconds left.

Once again TCU responded with a three, and once again Atkins came through with a mid-range bucket, this time to tie the score at 77 with 16.5 seconds.

After a pair of free throws by the Horned Frogs, Texas found itself down two with six seconds left. A broken play led to a desperation three at the buzzer by junior guard Lashann Higgs that failed to even hit the rim. It was over.

Atkins finished with a game-high 25 points to go along with six rebounds. Higgs totaled 18 points on the night.

The loss marks the first conference loss of the season for Texas (13-2, 4-1 Big 12). The Longhorns look to gain momentum when they host Kansas at 1 p.m. on Saturday before No. 1 Connecticut travels to Austin for a heavily anticipated matchup Monday night.

Over the weekend, the Longhorns were able to avenge last year’s loss to Kansas with a 42-27 victory at home. The Big 12 had four other important conference games in the weekend lineup. Here’s how they turned out:

Oklahoma drops TCU

Oklahoma has been extending its College Football Playoff hopes week after week. The Sooners’ matchup with TCU on Saturday proved to be one of their most important and hard-fought contests of the season. Coming into the game, Oklahoma and TCU both sat atop the Big 12 standings with one loss each, with hopes of becoming the lone Big 12 representative in the playoff picture.

The Sooners quickly grabbed control in this matchup thanks to the performance by Heisman front-runner Baker Mayfield. The Sooners’ first-half offensive explosion helped them take an early lead that they would not relinquish. Oklahoma didn’t even score in the second half, but a strong defensive performance made its 38 first-half points enough for a 38-20 victory over the Horned Frogs.

Mayfield continued to build his case for a Heisman trophy with another stellar performance, throwing for 333 yards and three touchdowns. The Oklahoma offense also benefited from a strong performance by running back Rodney Anderson, who ended the game with 151 rushing yards, 139 receiving yards and four total touchdowns.

Oklahoma State slides past Iowa State

Oklahoma State and Iowa State were both very much in the race for the Big 12 Championship game coming into their matchup last Saturday. Both teams entered the contest with two conference losses, knowing a third would end their championship hopes.

Iowa State has proved to be a surprise this season, but Oklahoma State did the Cyclones no favors. The game was unexpectedly a shootout. The Cyclones were able to match the firepower of the Cowboys’ offense.

Iowa State’s impressive offensive performance was not enough, however, as quarterback Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys put 49 up on a usually stout Iowa State defense. Oklahoma State came away with a 49-42 victory.

West Virginia sneaks out win

West Virginia and Kansas State have both been formidable opponents in the Big 12 this season.

West Virginia has had quite an up-and-down season this year, but this matchup against Kansas State was a defining one for the Mountaineers. West Virginia leaned heavily on star quarterback Will Grier, as well as standout wide receiver Ka’Ruan White. Grier threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Mountaineers to a 28-23 victory.

While the Longhorns made the trip up to Dallas to play in the Red River Showdown against Oklahoma, eight other Big 12 teams also squared off in conference action over the weekend. Here’s how the rest of those games shaped up in the Big 12. 

West Virginia wins in comeback

Texas Tech came into Saturday’s matchup with West Virginia off a strong win against Kansas, a game in which the Red Raiders put up 65 points. Following that win over Kansas, Texas Tech came in at No. 24 in the AP Top 25, their first appearance in the poll since 2013.

However, a potent West Virginia offense proved to be too much for the newly ranked squad. When the clock struck zero, the Mountaineers had staved off the visiting Red Raiders, winning 46-35.

Texas Tech started off strong with a quick 60-yard strike from senior quarterback Nic Shimonek. And early on, it seemed as if the electrifying air raid offense of Texas Tech might run away with the game, as the Red Raiders built a comfy 18-point lead early in the third quarter.

But the Mountaineers had no plans to go down easy. Led by quarterback Will Grier, West Virginia closed out the game with a spectacular 29-0 run to knock off Texas Tech. The redshirt junior had an elite performance in the win, throwing for five touchdowns, four of which came in the second half. 

Baylor remains winless

Baylor’s season has yet to show any signs of improvement, the team having now lost five consecutive games to start the year. Although the Bears have put together a few close contests, they have vastly underperformed. 

Things remained the same on Saturday. Baylor struggled in Stillwater, Oklahoma, losing to senior quarterback Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys’ high-octane attack. 

Oklahoma State’s offense was dominant throughout as Rudolph threw for 459 yards and three touchdowns en route to a 59-16 victory. The Cowboys’ win helped them move up to No. 10 in the national rankings.

TCU extends win streak

A week after losing in double overtime to Texas, Kansas State hosted No. 6 TCU on Saturday afternoon. The Horned Frogs entered the matchup as the lone undefeated team in the Big 12, sitting atop the conference standings after losses by Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in previous weeks. 

Kansas State has proved to be a formidable opponent in conference play this year, highlighted by its tough, grinding play. This contest, however, would prove to be more one-sided than expected. 

The Horned Frogs took an early lead on the Wildcats and never took their foot off the pedal. TCU ultimately defeated Kansas State 26-6, limiting the Wildcats’ scoring to just two field goals. The victory vaulted the Horned Frogs up to No. 4 in the national rankings.