In a key contest for the race at the top of the Big 12, the No. 10 Texas Longhorns went into Bramlage Coliseum, overcome an early deficit and stole a 69-66 win to take control of the conference standings.
Here are a few quick thoughts from Texas’ huge road win in Manhattan.
This was a massive win for Texas. The way in which Texas fought back after falling behind by 14 points in the first half, the fact that they were on the road in a wild environment against an elite-level opponent are all notable, but the fact that Texas stole a key road win to remain alone atop the Big 12 standings at this point in the season makes this quite arguably Texas’ biggest win of the season. And now, the Longhorns lead the league at 8-2 behind major back-to-back ranked wins over No. 11 Baylor and No. 7 Kansas State. Certainly a way to put an exclamation point on a great week for the Horns.
This group definitely doesn’t stop fighting. As noted, being down 14 means Texas didn’t do its part early, and that kind of early showing on the road against the No. 7 team is the definition of playing with fire. But once again, Rodney Terry’s squad was resilient and responded in a major way, adding yet another comeback win to their name since he took the reins.
Texas doesn’t win this game without Christian Bishop. He tied for a team-best 14 points, all of which came in the second half, as did all six of his rebounds and his two timely blocks to lead the rally for Texas in the second half. He was incredibly active and physical in the paint, attacked the ball defensively, and just as importantly, he was Texas’ source of confidence and energy when they didn’t have much. Bishop’s six buckets were consistent crowd-silencers and came as major moments for Texas to tie the action and take late leads. Texas doesn’t win this game without him, and it might not have been too close.
Sir’Jabari Rice continues to make winning plays for this team. Matched only by Bishop’s 14 points, Rice drained a couple and timely threes as Texas fought back, sank several key free throws — 8-9 in total — and fought for some big-time rebounds en route to his 10 total boards. This is nothing new for Rice — when Texas wins, he’s usually a big part of why.