No. 20 Texas, TCU battle with different goals in sight
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No. 20 Texas and unranked but dangerous TCU will have decidedly different goals in the balance, both predicated on winning, when they square off on Wednesday in Big 12 Conference play at Austin, Texas.
The Longhorns, who hope to get back on track after a 61-55 home loss to then-No. 11 Texas Tech on Saturday, will attempt to bolster their resume for a higher seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Horned Frogs will be in desperation mode, as time is running out to pile up enough quality wins to be considered for a berth in the tournament. Beating Texas in Austin would be a key resume-builder for a TCU team that has proven it can be competitive with any of the Big 12's heavyweights.
Texas (19-8, 8-6 Big 12) fell to rival Texas Tech in both matchups this season, with the Red Raiders proving to be just a little better than the Longhorns each time.
"We control our destiny here down the stretch," Texas forward Timmy Allen said. "We play a couple good teams, and we've got two more at home, so we're just trying to control we can control and try to win out."
The Longhorns trailed by 10 points with 3:38 to play on Saturday but rallied to within 56-55 with 1:37 remaining. Texas Tech was solid on defense in the endgame and also hit late five free throws to send Texas to its second loss in its past three games.
Texas' Andrew Jones led all scorers with 20 points while Christian Bishop grabbed 11 rebounds for the Longhorns in the defeat.
"They don't hand out the trophy out in February -- they do that in April," Texas coach Chris Beard said postgame. "We're disappointed we didn't play better, and it's a hurt locker room right now for us. But we'll be back. This is what competition at this level is like."
The Horned Frogs (17-8, 6-7) head to Austin after a 77-67 home win over West Virginia on Monday in a game that was rescheduled from Jan. 3 because of COVID issues.
TCU snapped a three-game losing streak while playing for the second time in three days. The Horned Frogs are in the midst of playing four contests in an eight-day period, with three of those games against teams ranked in the top 20.
Emanuel Miller led five TCU players in double-figure scoring against West Virginia, racking up 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Mike Miles added 15 points, Chuck O'Bannon had 11 and Damion Baugh and Xavier Cork hit for 10 points each in the victory.
Baugh added seven rebounds and seven assists.
"Just a win -- everybody loses in this league," TCU coach Jamie Dixon said afterward. "There's nobody going undefeated. This thing, top to bottom, is the best it's ever been since I've been here."
TCU played without big man Eddie Lampkin, who injured his knee in the Horned Frogs' loss to then-No. 7 Baylor on Saturday and is considered day-to-day.
Texas handled the Horned Frogs 73-50 in Fort Worth on Jan. 25 in the first meeting of the season between the teams. The Longhorns have won the past six games in the series.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 22, 2022