AUSTIN, Texas — Texas freshman Greg Brown used a body twist and quick step for a thunderous baseline dunk.
Only this time, there was no menacing stare to draw a momentum-killing technical foul. Instead, it was a joyous, smiling romp back down the court.
In other words, lesson learned.
“After the dunk today, I was like, `OK Greg, don’t look at the dude,”‘ Brown said of the big play that helped break a TCU rally and spurred the No. 13 Longhorns to a 70-55 win Saturday, their first home victory in nearly a month.
A ferocious dunk against Baylor two weeks ago led to a technical foul that opened the door for a big Baylor rally in a game Texas lost. It also led to some scolding from his coaches and older teammates.
Brown’s teammates were quick to chime in again Saturday.
“They were screaming at me to get back,” said Brown, who finished with 13 points.
Andrew Jones scored 19 points, Matt Coleman added 15 points and Jericho Sims had 11 points and eight rebounds for Texas, which had lost three of its last four at home, including the last two.
Texas (13-5, 7-4 Big 12) started sloppily with three turnovers in three possessions but soon cleaned up those problems. Jones found it easy to create just about any shot he wanted on his way to 13 points in the first half.
Sims then provided some inside muscle with three highlight-reel plays with a soaring dunk, a big block to break up a fast break, and a nifty midair pass and assist on a dunk that sent Texas into halftime leading by eight.
TCU (11-8, 4-6) quickly rallied in the second half and pulled within 43-41 before consecutive turnovers set up layups by Jones. Then came Brown’s dunk that put an exclamation point on the burst and sent Texas on its way.
“I was having so much fun, I didn’t even know what the score was,” Brown said.
R.J. Nembhard scored 15 points to lead TCU, but was mostly held in check after making four of his first five shots in the opening minutes.
“You’ve got to sustain and you’ve got to finish,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “We’ve got to find a way to execute better throughout. We had a two-point game and we hadn’t even played that well.”
TCU: The Horned Frogs couldn’t create any inside presence to open up more outside shooting for Nembhard and Mike Miles once Texas turned up the defensive pressure on the guards. Center Kevin Samuel, who averages 9.4 points, managed just one shot in the first half and that didn’t come until the final two minutes of the half. Samuel finished with three points.
Texas: The Longhorns look like a much more confident team than they were in a skid of four losses in five games, including three in a row. They head into a stretch of five games in 11 days with Brown and Sims providing consistent play to complement the dynamic guard scoring of Jones and Coleman.
“Our team spirit was better than its been for quite a while,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “Hopefully it’s something our guys can put in their pocket. We can win by 15 even through we didn’t shoot the ball well from three, and when you start like that with turnovers.”
The TCU rally-killing turnovers were part of a game-long problem. The Horned Frogs had 15 turnovers, leading to 19 Texas points.
TCU hosts No. 7 Texas Tech on Monday.
Texas plays at No. 12 Oklahoma on Tuesday.