TCU cruises past Texas 87-71 in matchup of NCAA hopefuls
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Vladimir Brodziansky scored 25 points, Kouat Noi had his second straight career high with 18 and TCU won an important matchup between teams battling for the NCAA Tournament, beating Texas 87-71 on Saturday.
The Horned Frogs (17-8, 5-7 Big 12) shot 60 percent with one turnover before halftime and never trailed in answering a double-overtime loss at Texas a day after the Longhorns learned that sophomore guard Andrew Jones had been diagnosed with leukemia.
TCU shot 55 percent for the game, a season high against the Longhorns (15-10, 5-7), while creating a four-way tie for sixth in the rugged Big 12. Oklahoma State joined the group with an upset of No. 19 West Virginia as did Baylor, which beat No. 10 Kansas.
Noi, a redshirt freshman from Australia making his second career start, made his first three 3-pointers in the first four minutes and had 13 first-half points. Noi’s previous high was 17 in a loss at No. 10 Kansas on Tuesday.
Mo Bamba scored 23 points but the 6-foot-11 freshman and Big 12 rebounding leader had a season-low five boards as the Longhorns got outrebounded 33-22 in their fifth straight Big 12 road loss.
Texas won its first three true road games this season before the current skid after going 0-11 in those games while finishing last in the Big 12 last season.
Desmond Bane scored 17 points, including a desperation 3-pointer from several feet behind the arc for a 16-point lead with the shot clock about to expire early in the second half. Bane had another 3 to push the lead to 15 with about six minutes left after Texas had pulled within eight.
Texas: Coach Shaka Smart criticized his team’s effort in its last loss at home against Kansas State. The message didn’t sink in. The Longhorns lacked aggression again, best illustrated by Bamba’s low rebounding total. He even had a rebound grabbed out of his hands by 6-1 guard Alex Robinson. Bamba made it worse by swiping at Robinson in frustration on a foul call as the TCU player went up for a shot, leading to some shoving. A video review did not result in a more serious foul.
TCU: The Horned Frogs really couldn’t afford their second three-game losing streak in the Big 12. Now last season’s NIT champions have a chance to get within a game of .500 again in conference following a 1-4 start. TCU had reached that point before consecutive losses to Texas Tech and Kansas.
Texas: Baylor at home Monday.
TCU: At No. 19 West Virginia on Monday.
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