Texas Survives TCU, Moves to 7-2 in Conference Play

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In a classic upset position, the Texas Longhorns rode a sloppy first half and survived down the stretch to move to 7-2 in Big 12 play.

A road trip to the winless-in-conference TCU Horned Frogs following the huge upset of top-10 Kansas was the perfect place to end the Horns' conference winning streak. And the 10 first-half turnovers, matching the season average, certainly was evidence that the young Horns weren't entirely up for the contest.

TCU used a tightly packed 2-3 to limit Isaiah Taylor's penetration on the night, keeping the young point guard from attacking the paint with floaters as he had against Baylor and Kansas. While the defense left plenty of opportunities outside, the Texas guards failed to capitalize from three on the night: Holland 2-5, Walker 1-5, Croaker 0-3, and Yancy 0-1. The 10 turnovers and poor shooting weren't enough to take advantage of a dominant performance on the boards, and Texas trailed TCU 22-20 headed to the half.

Texas opened things up a little in the second half, mainly by crashing the offensive glass and getting to the free throw line. Cameron Ridley and Jonathan Holmes each finished with 6 offensive rebounds, with Holmes going 8-12 from the line and Ridley finishing 4-6.

Additionally, Rick Barnes moved Isaiah Taylor around the floor, allowing him to attack the paint from somewhere other than the top of the key. While Taylor only finished with 11 points on 3-10 shooting (he struggled to find the floater all night), he was able to dish out 7 assists to only 2 turnovers and pick up 5-6 attempts from the line.

Once again, the Horns rode the broad shoulders of Jonathan Holmes and Cam Ridley. Holmes (20 points and 16 rebounds) was aggressive on the offensive end, crashing the boards and confidently stepping into two late corner threes to solidify Texas's lead. Ridley (12 points and 9 boards) didn't have as demonstrative a performance as he did against the Jayhawks, but put in his typical solid work.

The big story of the night was sophomore guard Javan Felix's absence, resting from a concussion suffered late against Kansas. His absence left opportunities for freshmen guards Martez Walker, Kendal Yancy, and Damarcus Croaker to get minutes and develop, and none of them left much of an impact.

Walker led the way with 26 minutes, picking up 5 points on 2-7 shooting and 3 boards. Yancy and Croaker combined for 20 mins, went 0-5 from the field, and finished with Yancy's 1 point and 2 boards. Missed opportunities for the freshmen.

You can't take much away from a game like this, except for the team moving to 18-4 overall and 7-2 in Big 12 play. Conference road wins are always welcome, but Texas now moves to a much tougher task, heading to Manhattan to face the Wildcats on Saturday.

I get the feeling Rick Barnes is happy his team gave him something to work on this week.

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