Men's Basketball

To topple Texas, TCU's offense must maintain its edge with defense improving

Of TCU's eight losses this season, none was more excruciating than the double overtime loss at Texas Jan. 10.

Five of the losses came by a combined 16 points and, in all of those, the Horned Frogs had ample opportunities to nail down a victory.

In the 99-98 loss to the Longhorns (15-9, 5-6 Big 12), Jaylen Fisher missed a potential game-winning layup as time expired in the second overtime.

Even in Tuesday's seven-point loss at Kansas on Tuesday, the Frogs (16-8, 4-7 Big 12) were trailing by just two points with under four minutes remaining.

If TCU is to finish the regular season strong, it needs to start against Texas at 1 p.m. Saturday at Schollmaier Arena.

To do it, the Frogs need to match the Longhorns' defense, which ranks second in the Big 12 in 3-point defense (32.2 percent) and third in field goal defense (41 percent). TCU leads the league in both field goal percentage (50.0) and 3-point shooting (41.1). No team has shot better against TCU this year than Texas' 56.7 percent (34 of 60).

"I’ve never been in a game that isn’t a must-win," TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. "If you’re a five-seed you want to be a four-seed, a three-seed wants to be a two-seed. It’s never ending. You want to be the best you can be and finish the highest you can."

TCU's two worst shooting nights this season have come against the Jayhawks, including 40.4 percent from the field Tuesday.

We need to play a little better than we did the other day but I was encouraged with what we did. We’re getting there defensively. Progress is being made.

Vladimir Brodziansky, who was named one of 10 finalists for the 2018 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, missed five layups and tip-ins, including a dunk, against Kansas. The Frogs combined to miss eight layups.

"We were in a position to win the game. We had some empty possessions down the stretch," Dixon said. "[The Texas game] is obviously a game we need to win and they need to win. It’s part of being in the best league in basketball. I feel good about our guys. We know we’ve got to win games down the stretch to do what we came to do."

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