Texas beats TCU on the road with tough play from Brock Cunningham

Nick Pannes, Sports Reporter

Texas played one of its best games of the season Tuesday night in a 73-50 win on the road against TCU. 

The victory was a product of near-perfect execution on both sides of the ball for Texas, thanks to contributions from both the starting roster and the bench.

The first eight minutes of play were a neck-and-neck duel as both teams tried to find their rhythm. But in the following two minutes, senior forward Timmy Allen led the Longhorns to a nine-point lead. Texas would lead for the rest of the game.

Allen, Texas’ current leading scorer, finished with nine rebounds and a team-high 16 points. He posted 6-13 shooting and was a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line.

Texas senior guards Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones followed closely behind Allen with 14 and 12 points respectively, combining for 5-11 shooting from three.

But the brightest spot for Texas may have been junior forward Brock Cunningham. 

Cunningham’s hot streak began after the TCU home crowd started chanting “little man Cunningham” after he committed a shooting foul late in the first half. The next play, he earned Texas a 3-pointer after securing two offensive rebounds in a row.

Then came two Cunningham layups, a hard shooting foul against TCU sophomore Micah Peavy, and another offensive rebound to close out the half.

“Brock does a great job of doing whatever’s necessary to win,” Allen said after Texas’ victory against Oklahoma State. “He comes in, he brings that energy and he always just makes a ‘Brock’ play. It’s getting steals, a nice rebound or making a hard foul. … He’s a guy that you want on your team, and when he’s not on your team, you’re frustrated about it.”

It was those “Brock” plays that gave Texas a cushion against TCU. He finished the game with four assists and seven total rebounds, including five offensive rebounds.

Texas head coach Chris Beard has also recognized Cunningham before Tuesday, calling him the “de-facto MVP” after playing Oklahoma State, despite Cunningham recording only 11 minutes and zero points in the game.

“He just continues to chip away (at) opportunities for himself,” Beard said. “There are plays in basketball that are a little bit more valuable than others, just because it gets the crowd going (or) gives your guys some confidence, (or they) kind of swing momentum a bit.”

Texas finished the night with 41 total rebounds, 15 of them on offense. Senior forward Christian Bishop was also a major contributor with four offensive rebounds.

Save a win over a depleted West Virginia roster on New Year’s Day, Tuesday’s win against the Horned Frogs marks the most points scored and the least points allowed by the Longhorns during conference play. They made eight 3-pointers on 44.4% shooting, spread the ball with 21 assists and overcame a recent point of failure by limiting themselves to 10 turnovers.

According to ESPN, Texas’ remaining games comprise the toughest strength-of-schedule in the entire NCAA. Their next five conference games are all against ranked opponents, including No. 5 Kansas, No. 4 Baylor, and Beard’s former team, No. 13 Texas Tech.