The cliché goes that road wins in the Big 12, against anybody, aren't easy to come by. And despite heading to Fort Worth as arguably the Big 12's hottest team, Texas (18-4, 7-2 Big 12) needed a second-half rally to pull away from a struggling, but feisty TCU team, the lone conference team without a Big 12 win.
Jonathan Holmes scored 20 points — including a tiebreaking three-pointer with 2:41 left — and snagged a career-high 16 rebounds to help the Longhorns avoid a similar shock to the one that occurred to Kansas a year ago. The Jayhawks were Big 12 champs with a 15-3 conference record last year, but one of those losses came in a horrific shooting performance in Fort Worth, resulting in one of two TCU conference victories. Interestingly enough, TCU also hacked down NCAA Tournament team Oklahoma at the Daniel Meyer Coliseum a year ago.
So the precedent for the Horned Frogs (now 9-12, 0-9) grabbing big home wins was set. And Texas certainly helped TCU's cause by shooting just 18-of-58 for the game, or 31.0 percent. That enabled the Horned Frogs to somehow hang around on a night when the Longhorns out-rebounded them 56-25, including 25 Texas offensive boards to 17 defensive boards for TCU.
For its part, TCU didn't shoot well either, at 32.7 percent, and the Horned Frogs were doomed by Texas scoring 26 second-chance points to TCU's eight. Texas also shot a sweltering 16-of-19 on free throws in the second half, after starting 2-for-7 in the first.
The Longhorns needed all of those to overcome the lack of key scorer Javan Felix, who sat out the game with a concussion. Felix has been Texas's No. 1 scorer in Big 12 play, averaging 14.8 points per game.
Cameron Ridley scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds with one block in 23 minutes. Point guard Isaiah Taylor, fresh off being named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week, scored 11 and dropped seven assists to two turnovers.
After starting conference play 0-2, Texas has now rattled off seven straight Big 12 wins, and the Longhorns sit all alone in second place, one game behind Kansas, halfway through the conference season. The next two games will tell quite a bit about whether Texas can stick around the conference race for awhile longer. First, Texas must travel to face Kansas State in Manhattan, the same K-State team that the Longhorns beat at the buzzer at the Frank Erwin Center. Then the Longhorns return home to play an Oklahoma State team that easily handled the 'Horns for one of their two conference losses earlier this year.
Tip for the K-State game is set for 12:45 p.m. Saturday.