Defense stumbles in loss to Horned Frogs

Shane Lewis

Things fared no better for Texas the second time around against TCU.

After dropping a tightly-contested game to the Horned Frogs earlier in the season, the Longhorns were thoroughly outclassed in the rematch, falling 78-63 in
Fort Worth.

Texas, which came into the contest second in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense, had no answers for TCU’s offensive attack. The Horned Frogs were shooting over 60 percent from the field midway through the second half and finished the game at a 52 percent clip.

TCU junior forward Vladimir Brodziansky spearheaded the Horned Frog assault, racking up 18 points on 6-of-11 shots. For the Texas defense, it was a case of déjà vu. Brodziansky was a force in the first matchup as well, leading all scorers with 19 points.

TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said Brodziansky’s efficient performance reflects his basketball savvy and work ethic.

“He’s very bright, he’s very smart and he gets what we’re trying to do,” Dixon said. “Skill-wise and fundamental-wise, he’s battling every day to get better. He’s come a long way.”

The game looked like it would be a runaway early on. TCU jumped out to a quick 21-12 lead and appeared to be in control. But Texas pulled together a string of stops, and a three-pointer from freshman guard Andrew Jones made the game 21-19 with 8:37 left in the first half.

The half remained tight after that point, with Texas going into the break only trailing 38-35.

The Longhorns spent the second frame a step behind the opposition. The squad never led during the period and was left playing catchup behind TCU’s hot shooting. The Horned Frogs again opened up a nine-point lead, this time with 11:30 left in the game.

But Texas bounced right back, cutting TCU’s lead to five with 9:03 remaining.

That’s when the floodgates opened. TCU went on a 16-6 run to end the contest, utilizing timely three-point shooting and offensive rebounding. The Longhorns faltered down the stretch offensively, going scoreless for a three-minute period during TCU’s final run.

TCU sophomore guard Alex Robinson attributed the decisive run and the victory to the atmosphere at the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

“A lot of credit goes to everybody that was on our bench that brought a lot of energy, and our fans especially,” Robinson said. “The arena was extremely loud, and that helps contribute to home court advantage.”

Texas was once again led by its freshman duo of forward Jarrett Allen and Jones.

Allen had one of his most impressive stat lines of the year in Fort Worth as he finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

Jones notched 14 points and dished out seven assists, just one off his career high.

Jones also continued to show improvement on the defensive end, something head coach Shaka Smart has highlighted.

“The thing that’s been exciting about Andrew is that he’s put in a lot of extra time that people don’t see outside of practice watching tape,” Smart said. “We watch a lot of his defensive possessions together. He’s made major strides on the (defensive) side of the floor. He’s got a really high ceiling.”

The team now prepares for a rematch with Iowa State, who bested the Longhorns 79-70 on Jan. 7. Tip off is slated for 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Frank
Erwin Center.