Big games by Lewis, Ibeh wasted as Texas’ season ends in heartbreaking loss to Houston

Christian Corona

First Half

Cameron Ridley won the tip for Texas, which missed three shots on its opening possession before Houston’s Joseph Young assisted Danuel House on an alley-oop that put the Cougars on the scoreboard 2-0. Ridley, making his second straight start, left the game after just five minutes with an upper respiratory infection. The Longhorns were held to 32.4 percent shooting and were out-rebounded 34-24 in the first 20 minutes as Young’s game-high 12 points had the Cougars leading, 37-31, at halftime.

Second Half

Texas scored the first seven points of the second half to take a one-point lead and extended it to its largest of the game, 62-56, with six minutes left. An 11-0 run by Houston quickly erased that lead but Julien Lewis helped the Longhorns claw their way back before Myck Kabongo knocked down a pair of free throws with 52 seconds left to put Texas on top, 72-71. House hit a jumper with 17 seconds left to give Houston a 73-72 advantage and Lewis, who scored 19 of his career-high 25 points in the second half, missed a potentially game-winning shot from the foul line in the final seconds.

Stock Up

Prince Ibeh- The 6-foot-10 freshman set career highs in points (12), rebounds (11) and blocks (five). He scored 10 points in his previous six games combined, including three scoreless contests. A 34.4 percent shooter from the free throw line entering Wednesday, Ibeh connected on four of eight tries from the charity stripe — despite airballing one in the first half.

Stock Down

Texas basketball – The Longhorns finished this season with a dismal record of 16-18, by far their worst under longtime head coach Rick Barnes. They could not manage to pick up a win even in the CBI, the third-most prestigious postseason tournament in college basketball. Myck Kabongo will likely declare for the NBA Draft after two seasons at Texas but the Longhorns should return everyone else in what should be a better 2013-14 season.

What’s Next

The Longhorns enter the offseason with a sour taste in their mouth after an early exit from the CBI. They’ll welcome Demarcus Croaker and Isaiah Taylor next year and will probably return everyone except Kabongo, who scored 17 points and had six assists Wednesday in what could be his last game with Texas.