AUSTIN (AP) – Back at home, where Texas has been so good in its season of resurgence, the Longhorns returned to form to beat TCU.
But there will be no more games here. To put a good finish on a better-than-expected season, Texas will have to figure out how to win on the road.
Isaiah Taylor scored 21 points and Cameron Ridley had his third consecutive double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Longhorns cruised to a 66-54 victory Wednesday night.
Connor Lammert added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Longhorns who wrapped up their Big 12 home schedule with an 8-1 record.
Next they’re off to Texas Tech for Saturday’s regular-season finale, then the Big 12 tournament before the NCAA tournament. Texas has lost four in a row on the road and hasn’t looked like the same confident team over the last month outside of Austin.
“We needed to get back on our feet. Coming home, this was a good win for us,” Taylor said.
If Texas wins Saturday, the Longhorns (22-8, 11-6) will clinch at least a tie for second in the Big 12 a year after the program’s first losing season in 15 years.
“Why wouldn’t we be confident?” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “We have a chance to finish second in the best conference in the country.”
Kyan Anderson scored 28 for TCU (9-20, 0-17), which moved closer to being just the third team in the history of the Big 12 to go winless in conference play in the regular season. The Horned Frogs have lost at least 20 games for the second straight season and end the season at home Saturday against Oklahoma.
The last team to go winless in the Big 12 was regular season was Texas A&M in 2003-2004.
“I’d like to see us break through somewhere and get a win,” TCU coach Trent Johnson said.
The Longhorns played without leading scorer Jonathan Holmes, who missed the game because of recurring problems with a right knee injury. Barnes said he thought Holmes would return Saturday, but won’t push for him to play before he’s ready.
Texas controlled the first half behind 10 points each from Ridley and Taylor. Ridley nearly had a double-double by halftime as Texas built the lead as high as 18-5 in the early going. TCU went nearly six minutes without a field goal before Anderson broke the drought with a long jumper.
Anderson did everything he could to keep the Horned Frogs in the game. He scored TCU’s first 14 points as his teammates missed their first nine shots. TCU rallied late in the half to pull within seven on Anderson’s twisting reverse layup before Taylor made two free throws give Texas a 36-27 halftime lead.
Anderson made a 3-pointer to open the second half before Taylor scored nine in a four-minute stretch that pushed Texas’ lead as high as 13.
Texas struggled to shake off the Horned Frogs for good.
Anderson kept pushing the tempo when he could and TCU kept getting to the free throw line. TCU went 23 of 29 from the line and Anderson made two to get TCU within 55-49. Martez Walker answered with a 3-pointer, which was just the second of the game for the Longhorns. Texas was just 2 of 16 from long range.
Taylor picked up his fourth foul with six minutes to play, but Ridley scored four straight points to put Texas back up by 10 with 4:51 left.
“We kept fouling,” Taylor said. “Putting them on the foul line stopped the flow of the game.”
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