KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Myck Kabongo had 16 points and six assists for Texas which used a late run to beat TCU 70-57 on Wednesday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.
The seventh-seeded Longhorns (16-16) trailed 44-43 midway through the second half, but took the lead on a basket underneath by Prince Ibeh and slowly extended it. Moments later, the Horned Frogs (11-21) watched Texas rip off a 13-3 run that resulted in a 62-49 lead.
Texas coasted the rest of the way into a Thursday night matchup with No. 11 Kansas State.
Julien Lewis finished with 19 points and Sheldon McClellan had 12 for the Longhorns, which have won six of their last nine games since Kabongo — their star sophomore guard — returned to the lineup following a 23-game suspension handed down by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits.
Texas has won seven straight and 11 of its last 12 against the Horned Frogs.
Connell Crossland scored 11 points and Charles Hill Jr. had all 10 of his points in the second half for TCU, which won only twice during its first trip through the Big 12.
Both of the wins were impressive, though, an upset of then-No. 5 Kansas and a win over Oklahoma in their regular-season finale that gave them some late-season confidence.
The Longhorns came into the tournament with just as much momentum, having won three of their last four, and early on it looked as if they’d have no trouble keeping it going. They raced out to a 10-2 lead before the Horned Frogs could even tighten their sneakers.
It was about that point that TCU coach Trent Johnson slapped on a 2-3 zone defense and that slowed the Longhorns down. After a 3-pointer by McClellan made it 13-4 with 13:03 left in the half, Texas only managed three free throws until Connor Lammert’s put-back with 4:52 to go.
That period of offensive futility, which included three turnovers and a bunch of missed baskets, allowed TCU to squeak ahead on Nate Butler Lind’s 3-pointer with 2:40 left in the half.
Lewis answered with back-to-back 3-pointers for the Longhorns, his only two field goals of the first half, and Texas managed to escape to the locker room leading 28-26 at the break.
TCU managed to stay with the Longhorns early in the second half, but Kabongo’s ability to get into the paint resulted in an endless stream of whistles and plenty of free throws. The Longhorns wound up 25 of 32 from the foul line.
Kabongo had four free throws during the Longhorns’ 13-3 run late in the second half, which broke open a close game and allowed them to stay alive for at least one more day.
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