Mar 10, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Dylan Disu (1) looks to pass over TCU Horned Frogs forward Xavier Cork (12) during the first half at T-Mobile Center. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports
No. 7 Texas 66, No. 22 TCU 60
No. 7 Texas defeated No. 22 TCU 66-60 in Friday night’s Big 12 semifinals to advance to the conference’s championship game Saturday afternoon versus No. 3 Kansas. For the Longhorns (25-8, 14-6 Big 12), the victory gives them two wins in three tries over the Horned Frogs this season and increasingly solidifies their status along the No. 2-seed line in the NCAA Tournament field.
TCU (21-11, 10-10 Big 12) struggled offensively throughout the night, but especially in the game’s final moments as a scoring drought of almost four minutes doomed the Horned Frogs. Texas forced 14 TCU turnovers and led wire-to-wire despite going just 2-for-14 from beyond the arc. The Longhorns’ forwards dominated the night, as Dylan Disu and Christian Bishop scored 15 points apiece, while Texas out-rebounded TCU 40-37 and blocked eight shots.
Mike Miles Jr. led TCU with 15 points, while Chuck O’Bannon Jr. added 12.
Both the Horned Frogs and Longhorns entered Friday night shorthanded, with Timmy Allen (Texas) and Eddie Lampkin Jr. (TCU) both unavailable.
A mixed crowd of fans from across the Big 12 greeted Texas and TCU in Kansas City, many of whom donned Kansas colors while anxiously scouting the Jayhawks’ Saturday opponent. Texas earned the right to play in Friday’s semifinal with a 61-47 win over Oklahoma State, while TCU pulled away in the second half for an 80-67 win over third-seeded Kansas State.
After two close games during the regular season, the third meeting between Jamie Dixon’s and Rodney Terry’s teams started down a similar path. Each defense controlled the early moments, with Texas carrying an 8-7 lead through more than three minutes of scoreless basketball before Arterio Morris’ layup ended the stalemate and extended the Horns’ lead to three points at the 11:54 mark of the first half.
Dylan Disu led the way on the inside for Texas, finding good looks near the rim to score 10 of the Longhorns’ first 19 points while making his first five shots.
Every time the Longhorns tried to open up a lead in the first half, TCU responded quickly to close the gap. After Texas pushed its lead to five on multiple occasions, Emanuel Miller’s layup pulled the Frogs back within a point at 22-21.
Still, the Horned Frogs struggled to get over the hump and never led in the opening half – in large part because of Texas’ dominance in the paint. The Longhorns scored 26 of their first 27 points in the paint, maintaining a lead despite starting the night 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. When Tyrese Hunter finally drilled the first 3-pointer of the night for Texas, its lead extended to a game-high 30-23 with just over two minutes to go in the half.
Texas took an eight-point advantage into halftime, leading 34-26 behind 12 points by Dylan Disu and 28 scored in the paint. The Horns held a 21-13 advantage on the glass and forced six turnovers before the break. Chuck O’Bannon Jr. scored eight to pace the Horned Frogs.
TCU used a miniature run in the second half’s opening few possessions to pull within three, but the Longhorns quickly stretched their lead back to 44-36 after Christian Bishop’s putback layup gave him 11 points with 14:28 to go.
Still, the Horned Frogs refused to allow Texas to run and hide. The Horned Frogs used an 8-2 run of their own to pull back within two, 46-44 with 12 minutes left.
After Dylan Disu’s dominant first half for the Longhorns, fellow big man Christian Bishop put together an impressive run in the second. By the 11-minute mark, Bishop and Disu had scored 14 points apiece for the frontcourt-dominant Horns to help Texas increase its lead once again – this time to nine. But when Dylan Disu picked up his fourth foul with still more than eight minutes to go, Rodney Terry was forced to get creative with the forward’s minutes the rest of the way.
Texas made just its second 3-pointer of the night with five minutes left, a Marcus Carr triple that put the Horns ahead 60-53. Mike Miles Jr. responded with one of his own on the ensuing possession, once again narrowing the TCU deficit to four. Unlike Texas, TCU made seven of its first 13 3-pointers to keep the game within reach heading into the final four minutes.
Unfortunately for the Frogs, Miles’ 3-pointer at the 4:51 mark gave them their last points until Damion Baugh made one free throw with 53 seconds to go. That four-minute drought essentially iced the game for the Longhorns, who extended their lead to 64-57 with 15 seconds to go.
Tyrese Hunter made two free throws with 3.8 seconds left to make it 66-60, which became the game’s final score.
TCU will now await its NCAA Tournament seeding and matchup to be announced Sunday, while Texas takes on No. 3 Kansas for a Big 12 title at 5 p.m. CT Saturday.