Sorry! Desmond Bane, TCU pour it on at Texas to strengthen hopes of going dancing

Courtesy of TCU Athletics

Desmond Bane had a simple message when he saw Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte on Saturday afternoon.

“Sorry!” Bane told the former TCU AD as he exited the postgame news conference Saturday afternoon.

Bane smiled and laughed as he said it, minutes after his career day lifted TCU to a much-needed 69-56 victory over Texas at the Frank Erwin Center.

Bane did it all Saturday, knocking down six 3-pointers en route to a career-best 34 points. That’s 20 more points than he had the previous two games combined, being held to just seven points in each of the Texas Tech and Kansas State losses.

“It’s going to be a different guy every night. Tonight it happened to be my night,” said Bane, who also had six rebounds, two assists and one block.

“We ran a little different offense, a little more movement and it opened up looks.”

Bane hasn’t had this much impact on the offensive end since playing for Seton Catholic High School in Indiana. He scored 62 points in a high school game once, needing 31 shots to do so.

TCU junior guard Desmond Bane scored a career-high 34 points at Texas on Saturday. Bane and TCU desperately needed the win to help the program's NCAA tournament dreams.

He scored 34 on 20 attempts Saturday.

Asked if Saturday felt similar to the high school barrage, Bane said: “It was close, I guess, on a smaller scale. I felt good for sure, but 60 was ridiculous.”

Either way, TCU (19-12, 7-11 Big 12) desperately needed it with its NCAA tournament dreams hanging in the balance. The Frogs remain on the bubble, but they’ll at least head to next week’s Big 12 tournament with momentum.

TCU is slotted in as the No. 8-seed and will face Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. If the Frogs advance through that game, they’ll meet top-seeded Kansas State at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Winning once in the Big 12 tournament would put TCU at the 20-win mark, something that would seemingly secure a spot in the Big Dance.

“No matter what, you always feel like you need another one,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said.

Dixon is most pleased with how his team responded. There is plenty going on around the program.

The Frogs were riding a three-game losing streak and had lost six of their last seven. Then, on Thursday, assistant coach Corey Barker was linked to the FBI college basketball corruption case and has been placed on administrative leave.

“We had a lot of things going on,” Dixon said. “A lot of motivation. Obviously playing for the NCAA tournament, on the bubble … obviously for Corey, our assistant, he’s a great person. So there’s a lot of motivation for the guys and certainly you shouldn’t need more, but we knew our backs were against the wall.”

Texas (16-15, 8-10 Big 12) had its back against the wall, too. The Longhorns have a solid ranking in the NCAA’s new NET system, but it’s hard to picture the tournament selection committee giving an at-large bid to a .500 team.

But it was TCU that came out with more energy and out-played Texas in every facet. The Frogs won the rebounding battle, 35-24. They had more blocks (7-4), more assists (15-9) and, somewhat surprisingly, more bench points (14-5).

The rebounding battle is what stands out, though. TCU had four players with at least five rebounds, led by freshman guard R.J. Nembhard with seven. Texas, meanwhile, had just two. Longhorns forward Dylan Osetkowski entered as the Big 12’s second leading rebounder and finished with a season-low two.

“[Rebounding] is something we worked on for the past couple of days in practice and coach emphasized it,” said TCU center Kevin Samuel, who had five rebounds.

“We just stuck to it and it carried over to the game.”

Texas showed life midway through the first half, taking a 22-16 lead following an 8-0 run with 7:08 left. But TCU closed strong with a 19-5 run and enjoyed a 35-27 lead going into the locker rooms. Bane scored seven of his 12 first-half points in those final seven minutes.

Texas, meanwhile, has never come back from a halftime deficit this season and certainly didn’t have the makings of snapping that dubious distinction against TCU.

The Frogs kept a comfortable, double-digit lead much of the second half. Bane made all four of TCU’s 3-pointers in the second half, and was left apologizing for the whipping TCU put on Texas.

But that’s what had to be done for TCU if it wants to dance again.

“This was a must-win game,” Bane said. “We came out and played like it was a must-win game. We had energy, one through everybody, our whole bench was into it.

“It was good for us and good going forward.”

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Drew Davison is the TCU and Big 12 sports writer for the Star-Telegram. He’s covered everything in DFW from Rangers to Cowboys to motor sports.