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Texas Longhorns cruise at home, beat the TCU Horned Frogs, 71-54

Kerwin Roach led all scorers with 22 points. But this was a Prince Ibeh Game.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns held their home court against the TCU Horned Frogs, coasting to an easy win. Shaka Smart's team won 71-54, and the game was perhaps not as close as the final score might suggest. Texas' full court pressure was effective, forcing 19 Frog turnovers, while the Longhorn offense made up for going only 3-15 from three point range by going 24-36 from the free throw line.

The Longhorns got their scoring from unexpected places. Freshman guard Kerwin Roach and senior center Prince Ibeh, two players who's greatest contributions are usually on the defensive end, led the way with 22 and 17 points, respectively.

Early in the game, the Longhorns looked inside to a surprising scoring option -- Prince Ibeh. Ibeh notched seven first half points, scoring on dump offs and low post touches. Later in the period, Shaquille Cleare would also convert low post chances into four points.

The Texas Longhorns came out in an aggressive defense to start the first half, pressing for much of the period. And the press was effective, forcing nine first half TCU turnovers. The problem was that the Longhorns had seven turnovers of their own, four of which came on offensive fouls.

Early foul trouble -- six Longhorns had two first half fouls -- forced Texas into some strange lineups, and likely forced Texas out of its attacking defense, as the Longhorns spent much of the second ten minutes of the game in a zone.

Smart's men had a difficult time shooting the ball from the very start of the game, going 0-7 from three point range in the first half. It would only get a little better after halftime. Poor shooting by Texas was all that kept the 37-27 halftime score as close as it was.

The tight whistles weren't doing TCU any favors. Chris Washburn picked up his third foul shortly after the start of the second half, and the game soon became a Texas parade to the free throw line. The Longhorns were doing what they have been doing well on offense lately, which is driving the ball to the basket. And the officials were more than happy to send Texas to the free throw line 36 times.

For much of the second half the lead hovered around ten points.  The Texas press blew things open late, leading to the final score.

Game Notes

  • With so much first half foul trouble, Kerwin Roach ended up taking a bigger role in the offense. He scored 10 first half points, shooting 3-3 from the floor and 4-6 from the free throw line. And he kept it going into the second half, finishing the game with 22 points. Roach is at his best right now when he can cut to the basket, or attack off the dribble. After Isaiah Taylor, no Longhorn is as good driving to the rim as Roach, and as he starts to get better finishing around the cup a lot of good things are going to happen for him.
  • Prince Ibeh's defensive impact is so easy to see, and when he can stay out of foul trouble and stay on the floor, he is capable of controlling the game. Tonight, Ibeh was seemingly the only player in the game without first half foul trouble, and did not pick up his first foul until there was 8:47 left in the game. It was a nice follow up to his strong performance against Kansas this Saturday, when he also stayed out of foul trouble and stayed on the floor.
  • The defensive output for Ibeh was obvious. He blocked five shots, pulled down ten rebounds, and was the main reason that TCU was limited to 37 percent shooting on two point shot attempts. Every time TCU got past the Texas press, Ibeh was there waiting. Ibeh was scrambling around on the back end of Texas' half court defense closing off driving lanes, showing the mobility that combined with his size makes him a terrific defender. And he was there pretty much every time the Frogs ventured into the paint.  Ibeh is locked in right now, moving his feet and playing under control. He is guarding his man and the other four men on the floor. This was a Prince Ibeh Game, and a good reminder that even in this age of "small ball" the big men are still in charge.
  • And while we are on the subject of Mr. Ibeh, to go along with everything else he hit some free throws, registering 5-6 shooting from the line. Not bad at all. But even if he doesn't score another point all season, if he keeps his defensive play at the level it is right now, Texas will be alright.
  • The Longhorns were a little sloppy with the ball tonight. Texas turned the ball over 15 times, which is less than ideal.
  • The Horned Frogs are really not cut out for the Big 12. While it is possible that they will win again in conference play, they are likely to be the underdog in all of their remaining games. Probably their best bet to pick up another win will come on February 8, when they host Oklahoma State.
  • TCU was called for 29 fouls, while Texas was whistled 27 times. That works out to a foul approximately every 43 seconds of game time, which is what we are calling "freedom of movement" these days. Somehow, all this freedom doesn't seem all that free.
The Longhorns take a break from Big 12 action this Saturday, and take on Vanderbilt as a part of the Big 12 / SEC challenge. It will be an 11 AM CST tip off.