It is difficult for any team to measure up to Texas — literally — and the much-improved TCU Horned Frogs did not.
They were beaten at the best parts of their game, defense and rebounding, in a 66-48 loss to the Longhorns, whose shortest frontline player is 6-foot-8 forward Jonathan Holmes, on Monday night at Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center.
TCU (14-4, 1-4) was outrebounded 38-27, shot 32 percent and was unable to threaten a zone defense that Texas never came out of. It was a sobering reminder of how far the Horned Frogs remain from the Big 12 conference’s elite.
“It was different. Something real different,” sophomore forward Kenrich Williams said after leading TCU in scoring with 10 points and shooting 50 percent. “Big guys. But that doesn’t mean we could stop being aggressive and attacking the rim.”
The Horned Frogs tried that early and had a little success, picking up offensive rebounds to stay close.
But they did not have the muscle or consistency to keep it up against the size of the Longhorns (14-4, 3-2), who have 6-foot-9 center Cameron Ridley and 6-foot-9 forward Connor Lammert in the starting lineup, and can roll 6-foot-11 forward Myles Turner and 6-foot-10 center Prince Ibeh off the bench.
The giants inside caught much of what TCU sent into the paint and turned it back. And nothing was falling from the outside either. The Horned Frogs were 3-for-17 on 3-pointers, and two of those came late in the game.
Leading scorer Kyan Anderson, in foul trouble, had just two points. Forward Chris Washburn was 1-for-7 shooting. Center Karviar Shepherd had six rebounds but was 2-for-7 shooting and had four fouls.
At the line, the Horned Frogs were 9-for-23. Even veteran Trey Zeigler, shooting 70.8 percent at the line in conference games, was 1-for-5.
TCU coach Trent Johnson called the whole thing “disturbing.”
“I can recall seven opportunities where Chris drops it a couple times, Karviar doesn’t finish,” he said. “What really disturbs me is that affected how we defend and rebound, and that hasn’t been the case. This is the first time this year where things didn’t go well for us on the offensive end, and that affected how we guarded. Every time I turned around, somebody was scoring, and it was way too easy. So that’s very disturbing.”
It was a matchup of two of the top rebounding and field-goal defense teams in the conference.
But Texas won it clearly, even as coach Rick Barnes acknowledged TCU’s 10-8 edge in offensive rebounds.
“You look down, you see John Holmes only has one offensive rebound, Cameron Ridley had none, Ibeh had one, Myles had one. We should have more than that,” Barnes said. “We said that during a timeout — we have nothing going on the offensive glass. I think you have to give them all the credit in the world, because we knew they would come in and it would be an emphasis; it has to be for anybody that plays us, to keep us off the glass.”
Johnson didn’t see many bright spots.
“I just didn’t like our effort. There wasn’t a lot I liked out there,” Johnson said. “And it’s really unfortunate for the team, it’s really unfortunate for me, because we have to have a day off. We can’t get in the gym tomorrow and get it corrected, to a degree. But there will be more opportunities. There will be more opportunities in this league.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407