The No. 13 Texas men’s basketball team used a big second-half run to separate itself from TCU in its 70-55 win Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center.
The 13-1 run, capped off with senior forward Jericho Sims’s alley-oop dunk and junior guard Courtney Ramey’s and-one finish, reminded fans what the Longhorns are capable of on both sides of the court.
“It was just fun to see everybody just let it out,” senior guard Matt Coleman said about the run. “Sometimes you gotta let it out. Sometimes you gotta cry. Sometimes you gotta smile.”
Coleman, despite only recording four assists in the box score, made many key passes and lobs to teammates by aggressively attacking the rim throughout the game.
“Good things happen when I'm able to just live in the paint and play inside out rather than outside in,” Coleman said. “I think that’s where a lot of our success came from.”
Sims anchored a solid effort by the Longhorns defensively, forcing TCU to commit 15 total turnovers and holding the Horned Frogs to 19-of-52 shooting from the field.
“I think Jericho (Sims) really played violent,” Coleman said. “He set the tone early for us, and we were able to feed off him.”
At times, head coach Shaka Smart deployed a lineup with Sims, sophomore forward Kai Jones and freshman forward Greg Brown all on the floor at the same time. On previous occasions, the trio weren’t very successful on the court together, but today was a different story.
“I thought the lineup with Greg (Brown), Kai (Jones) and Jericho (Sims) in together was really effective on the defensive end for us,” Smart said. “I've been telling those guys all year, ‘If you play together, you have to impact the game athletically and with your length.’ I thought they did a good job of that today.”
After several weeks of COVID-19 disruptions and forgettable team play, Brown said it was nice to simply have fun again on the court.
“There was one time, it was in the mid-second half, I looked up (and) was like, ‘Bro, what is the score?’” Brown said. “I was just having so much fun out there I didn’t even know what the score was.”
Smart said the collective spirit of the team was better today than it has been in a while, which serves the Longhorns well going forward.
“That spirit is created by the individual members of the team,” Smart said. “I felt like today, for the first time in quite a while, that was kind of where we want it to be.”
Today’s win serves as a solid jump start to the beginning of a daunting stretch of the season. Texas plays three games in three different cities between now and next Saturday.
“If our team, over the next seven weeks, is willing to lose ourselves in the fight, and that means let go of any type of self interest, all the noise and all the chatter … then we can max out,” Smart said. “And we can really get an opportunity to see how good can we be against these phenomenal teams both in our league and not in our league.”