Frogs struggle defensively in loss to Longhorns, 62-61

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After storming back from a 10-point deficit to tie the game, TCU basketball fell to Texas in heartbreaking fashion Wednesday at Schollmaier Arena.

“It hurts,” guard Desmond Bane said. “You don’t want to give up home games.”

Down one point with six seconds left, the Frogs lost any chances they had at completing the comeback by traveling on their final possession.

The Longhorns scored nearly half of their points from behind the arc, converting on 11 of their 22 attempts.

“[They hit] open ones early that just got them going,” head coach Jamie Dixon said.

Guard Jase Febres had led the way for Texas with 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting from deep.

After scoring a career-high 24 points on Saturday against Arkansas, center Kevin Samuel tied for a game-high 17 points for TCU in the loss.

Texas (8.6 made threes per game) started the game lights out from three-point range, hitting their first five attempts from deep to take an early 17-12 lead.

The Longhorns would then make just one field goal in the next five minutes of play. Meanwhile, the Frogs went on a 10-4 run to take the lead on a three-pointer from R.J. Nembhard with 5:19 remaining in the first half.

A three-pointer right before the halftime buzzer gave Texas a 28-27 lead going into the second half.

Samuel looked to have not lost any steam after his career day at Arkansas. The sophomore led all scorers with 13 points after the first 20 minutes.

Center Kevin Samuel stayed hot with 17 points against the Longhorns. Photo by Heesoo Yang.

The Longhorns continued to stay hot from deep in the second half, hitting their first two attempts to take their largest lead to that point, 37-31.

After pulling back within two, TCU then missed their next six shots, giving up an 8-0 Texas run and taking a ten-point deficit.

“We’ve got to execute better,” Dixon said. “We’ve got to do what we’re trying to do.”

As the second half went on, it felt like each time the Frogs did something special, the Longhorns would match it immediately.

After Bane hit a three from near the midcourt logo, Texas’ Jase Febres hit one of similar distance on the ensuing possession. Moments later, the Horns matched a Nembhard layup with two points of their own.

Guard RJ Nembhard’s 17 points weren’t enough for TCU against Texas. Photo by Heesoo Yang.

This wouldn’t put the Frogs away for good though. With the crowd on their side, TCU hit back-to-back threes, the second of which from Nembhard, to tie the game at 59 with 2:22 remaining.

Another Texas three, followed by two Nembhard free throws, put TCU down one with six seconds remaining.

The Frogs wouldn’t even get a shot off, as Nembhard was called for a travel, giving the Longhorns the ball and the 62-61 victory.

“Our guys did what we talked about doing,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “The key was just staying in front and not letting him [Nembhard] get a clear path to the basket.”

Samuel finished with just four points in the second half.

Nembhard finished tied for a game-high 17 points to go with six assists. Bane added 12 points of his own.

It doesn’t get any easier for TCU from here, as the Frogs head to Waco for a matchup with No. 1 Baylor Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.