Horns Illustrated

Men’s basketball tops TCU, 76-64, will face Texas Tech in in Big 12 tournament

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Andrew Jones and the Texas men's basketball team will tangle with Texas Tech for the third time this season Thursday in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, Mo.; Tech won the two meetings with UT in the regular season (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

FORT WORTH, Texas — Guard Andrew Jones scored a team-high 16 points, leading five Longhorns who scored in double digits and helping UT knock off TCU, 76-64, Saturday at Schollmaier Arena. 

With the victory, the No. 15/16 Longhorns finished the regular season with a 17-7 overall record and a 11-6 mark against Big 12 teams, while the Horned Frogs dipped below the .500 mark, at 12-13 overall, with a pedestrian 5-11 record against conference opponents.

The win gave the Longhorns the No. 3 seed in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, Mo. They will open the postseason at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, March 11, against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders swept two games from Texas during the regular season.

Jones went 5-for-7 from the floor, and canned all four of his shots from behind the three-point line. 

Fellow guard Matt Coleman scored 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half, while guard Courtney Ramey and forward Jericho Sims added 13 each. Forward Kai Jones was the Longhorns’ fifth double-digit scorer, with 10 points.

Sims was especially efficient, hitting six of his seven attempted field goals. Head coach Shaka Smart has said that he would like Sims to look for his shot more often, and with good reason: in his last four games, Sims has hit 21 of 26 field goals, for an absurd 80.8 percent. Ramey, like Coleman, was much stronger offensively after the intermission, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the second half.

“I thought it was a good team win,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “You know, we had contributions from a lot of guys that came into the game. Defensively, we had some moments when we really, really played well, and got our hands on the basketball and played with aggressiveness.”

The Longhorns have leaned on their guards — primarily Jones, Coleman and Ramey — all season as leaders on the offensive end. Sunday, they got a pair of three-pointers from guard Jase Febres, who was playing in just his 10th game of the season after recovering from an injury to his left knee that prematurely ended his 2019-20 season. If he can regain his pre-injury form, that would give the Horns an even more potent backcourt.

Both teams played aggressively on the defensive end, but while the Horns forced the Frogs into a negative (18-to-22) assists-to-turnovers ratio, UT was able to manage the ball better, handing out a season-high 20 assists compared to 16 turnovers. TCU’s 22 turnovers were the most by a UT opponent this season.

“I thought the guys did a good job sharing the ball with each other,” Smart said. “This was one of our best games in terms of passing and creating for each other, and the assist numbers show that.”

Smart said

“I don’t know much, but sometimes I get something right, so I told the guys ‘the press is going to help us win at least one game this week,’ and I thought up at Iowa State, it absolutely was a difference-maker, and today, it allowed us to extend the lead, for sure.”

Thursday’s game against Texas Tech will be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2.

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