Jase Febres 3s lift Texas, embattled Smart past TCU 62-61

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Jase Febres was standing on the “T” of TCU’s midcourt logo when the ball came to the Texas guard with the shot clock about to expire and the score tied in the final two minutes.

Another long heave from Febres went in, and the Longhorns held on for embattled coach Shaka Smart’s first win in Fort Worth in five tries, beating the Horned Frogs 62-61 on Wednesday night.

Febres scored all 15 of his points on 3-pointers, including another from well behind the arc to answer a long TCU 3 with the Horned Frogs trying to rally after trailing by nine points with eight minutes to go.

“It felt really good,” said Febres, whose tiebreaking 3 stopped an 8-0 run that pulled TCU even at 59-all. “I think they went on a run where they hit a couple of open shots before then, so being able to answer them back and shut the crowd up, it felt good.”

The Horned Frogs (13-7, 4-3 Big 12) had the ball with a chance to win with 6 seconds remaining, but RJ Nembhard was called for traveling on a drive. Nembhard scored 17 points, including a tying 3 to cap the late 8-0 run.

TCU lost for the third time in its last four Big 12 games following a 3-0 start for the team picked to finish last by league coaches in a preseason poll.

“It’s a fine line for everybody,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “There are so many close games and we just don’t do the things on a consistent basis to be at the top of the league.”

Courtney Ramey scored 12 points as the Longhorns (13-7, 3-4) stopped a season-worst three-game losing streak nine days after losing by 38 at No. 12 West Virginia.

Febres finished 5 of 7 from long range, including another long one from in front of the Texas bench for a 57-49 lead right after Desmond Bane had hit from well behind the arc.

“This is a game that could’ve gone either way,” Smart said. “For them to grab a hold of it, it affirms a lot of the stuff that we’ve been talking about and working on. And if you play the exact same way but you lose by one, you don’t have that same affirmation.”

Texas shot 50% from 3-point range (11 of 22) to stop a season-high three-game losing streak. Jericho Sims had 13 rebounds and nine points, while Matt Coleman also scored nine with seven assists.

Kevin Samuel matched Nembhard with 17 points, making 8 of 11 from the field, and had five rebounds for TCU.

BIG PICTURE

Texas: Much of Texas’ success this year has come from the perimeter, and the Longhorns are now 6-1 when hitting 10 or more 3s in a game. The Longhorns will play three of their next four at home.

TCU: Bane, the Big 12’s best 3-point shooter, just couldn’t put his imprint on this game after scoring a career-high 34 points in a win in Austin last season. While he scored 12 points, he was 2 of 6 from 3-point range, with one of the misses on an open look that would have put the Horned Frogs ahead with 55 seconds remaining.

NO MORE DEFICITS

The Longhorns, who beat TCU in the NIT semifinals on their way to the tournament title at Madison Square Garden last March after getting swept by the Horned Frogs in the Big 12 regular season, never trailed after Febres hit a 3 in the final seconds of the first half for a 28-27 halftime lead.

KOBE TRIBUTE

The Horned Frogs were one of many teams across the country to honor Kobe Bryant, wearing black warm-up tops that had Bryant’s No. 8 on the front and 24 on the back. Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles on Sunday.

UP NEXT

Texas: Home against Iowa State on Saturday.

TCU: At No. 1 Baylor on Saturday.