Texas picked up its first win over a ranked opponent this season with an inspired 99-98 double overtime Big 12 home win over No. 16 TCU on Wednesday night.
In a back-and-forth game that saw numerous ties and lead changes in the final minutes, the Longhorns won after Horned Frogs guard Jaylen Fisher missed a wide-open layup at the buzzer that would have given TCU the one-point win.
On a difficult day for Longhorn basketball that saw the school announce that sophomore guard Andrew Jones is battling Leukemia, Texas came together for its biggest win of the season. Playing without Jones, and junior guard Kerwin Roach II (fractured left hand), Texas defeated one of the better teams in the Big 12 despite missing two of its top four scorers.
Eric Davis Jr. stepped up his play in the absence of Jones and Roach to finish with a team-high 22 points as Davis was aggressive hunting his own offense when Texas needed a bucket. Dylan Osetkowski added 20 points — including a key go-ahead three-pointer with 8.6 seconds left at the end of the first overtime.
Freshman point guard Matt Coleman also had a standout performance for the Longhorns on Wednesday as he finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Although Coleman had some rough minutes down the stretch in which he over-dribbled on a few possessions, he gave the Texas offense the consistent presence they needed with the ball for most of the game.
Playing with a bigger lineup since Jones and Roach were out, the Longhorns also received a positive effort from freshman forward Jericho Sims, as he tallied 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Freshman big man Mohamed Bamba also supplied a strong all-around effort with 10 points, nine rebounds and five blocks as he provided a rim-protecting presence that made TCU’s offense think twice around the rim.
This is such a huge win for Texas. Nobody would have blamed the Longhorns had they come out flat after a day like today. Instead, Texas showed a lot of heart by winning a huge conference game that they needed to get at home in order to keep their postseason dreams going.
Things aren’t going to get any easier for Texas the rest of the way in the Big 12. West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Kansas all loom for the Longhorns as they’ve only played one game so far against the league’s top four teams. But Texas had to get a game like this against TCU at home with all of those tough games coming up. The first phase of the mission is complete.
Clearly emotional after the win, Texas and head coach Shaka Smart will have to regroup as they try to figure out how they’re going to play long-term without Jones. The injury to Roach also has an uncertain timetable that is difficult to peg and that adds another issue to keep an eye on.
Regardless of what happens next, Texas proved that they’re still dangerous despite all of the complications. Even without two top scorers, the Longhorns have enough balance and enough weapons to hang with a top-25 team and win. It’s hard to say if Texas can sustain this level of play with the issues currently surrounding the team. But for at least one night, Texas got the win they needed as they start to figure out the future.