Horned Frogs snap 11-game losing streak to Longhorns, which dates back to 1995
Posted January 9th, 2016
FORT WORTH — Lottery officials may need to double check, but safe to say nobody wearing burnt orange had the winning Powerball numbers Saturday night.
Texas used all of its late-game luck in wins against North Carolina and Stanford. So this time, when the Longhorns badly needed a miracle ball to save them, there was only disappointment and disgust.
Trailing by one against TCU, Isaiah Taylor’s off-balance fadeaway hit the side of the backboard. Then, Connor Lammert’s wild layup attempt got blocked, the Horned Frogs threw the ball away downcourt and celebrated a 58-57 win at Schollmaier Arena.
The potential game-winning play was designed for Javan Felix, who hit the jackpot against the Tar Heels. But Felix was covered, so the next option was Isaiah Taylor, who came up money against the Cardinal. Those two players combined for 29 points, but fate wasn’t in their favor this time.
“I popped out, tried to make something happen,” Taylor said. “Connor got the rebound. Unfortunately he blocked it, and that was the game.”
For the Frogs, this sure felt like winning the lottery, not that you could tell by the look on Trent Johnson’s face. Told this was TCU’s first win over Texas since the Frogs joined the Big 12, Johnson kept his signature stone-faced look and said, “Well, OK.”
And it snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Longhorns that dates back to 1995. “Oh, OK,” Johnson huffed.
“I’m happy, guys. Believe me,” he said. “But I’ve still got work to do. Nobody write about his dry humor and all that nonsense. I’m as happy as all get out.”
Johnson’s counterpart Shaka Smart slumped in his chair as it became clear these Longhorns (9-6, 1-2 Big 12) have a long, winding, bumpy road ahead. That path may not lead to the NCAA tournament, either.
Outside of back-to-back 3-pointers that gave UT a brief 48-44 lead, the Horns were 1 for 19 from 3-point range and shot 37.1 percent overall.
“I think we got some good looks tonight, and we worked hard for those looks,” Felix said. “We’ve just got to step up there with confidence and shoot ‘em.”
The Horns were hit with some bad luck before the game even started. Demarcus Holland was excused Saturday while attending his grandmother’s funeral. Smart said he knew Holland wouldn’t return from East Texas in time to play in the game.
Still, a UT assistant accidentally marked Holland as a starter in the official scorebook. “He went back and changed it, but I think it was too late,” Smart said. The Horns were assessed a technical foul and TCU’s Chauncey Collins hit a free throw, giving the Frogs a 1-0 lead before tipoff.
In a game featuring 115 points, that proved to be a big one.
“When you go on the road, the margin for error is a little bit smaller to begin with,” Smart said. “Then when you shoot the ball poorly, it’s even smaller.”
The Longhorns simply cannot contend in this league without offensive contributions from its frontcourt players. Starters Prince Ibeh (six points) and Lammert (one point) were 3 for 10 shooting. Four of Ibeh’s points came on two dunks to open the second half. Backup Shaq Cleare had eight points and went 2 for 6 from the floor.
Worse yet, Texas hasn’t gotten to the difficult portion of the schedule yet. UT still has eight games ahead against Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa State and Baylor.
At this point, the Horns don’t need luck. They need points. Or, they need Cam Ridley to heal his bionic foot.
“Texas, there’s plenty enough talent on that team,” Johnson said. “Plenty of talent.”