The Big 12 basketball season is like the Texas weather: If you don't like how things are at the moment, just wait 15 minutes and it'll change.
In this case, just a couple of days and a game or two can swing real (or maybe only perceived) momentum in your team's favor.
TCU seemed to do that with a convincing 87-71 win over Texas Saturday afternoon at Schollmaier Arena. The win snaps a two-game losing streak and puts the Frogs in a four-way tie at 5-7 for sixth place in the Big 12 with Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State. TCU has home games left with Oklahoma State (Feb. 17) and Baylor (Feb. 24). The Frogs beat them both on the road.
TCU (17-8, 5-7 in the Big 12) came out fast against Texas (15-10, 5-7). The Frogs built an eight-point lead behind 3 for 3 shooting from 3-point range from Kouat Noi, who was starting for only the second time.
"It all starts with penetration whether it be off a ball screen or drives or post touches, we really emphasize that," TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. "We wanted to attack, find the open man."
Vladimir Brodziansky led the hot-shooting Horned Frogs with 25 points. They needed a great game from the field because the Longhorns nearly matched them shot for shot. Texas shot 51.9 percent from the field, including 50 percent (10 of 20) from 3-point range. Mohamed Bamba led the Longhorns with 23 points. TCU shot 54.8 percent from the field, and were also 10 of 20 from 3-point range.
"Coach has been stressing to us that we have to find a way to get off to better starts," said TCU guard Desmond Bane, who had 17 points and five the Frogs' 23 assists. "We feel like if we can attack the rim and get into the lane early it opens things up throughout the rest of the game for us. We spread the ball around. Vlad can score so if you have a guy like that you force feed it in there and if they don’t suck in he’s going to score."
That's what happened in the second half, when Brodziansky scored 17 points. His presence inside helped hold off Texas' comeback attempt. The Longhorns cut the deficit to eight with 10 minutes remaining but the Frogs quickly pushed their lead back up to 12. After a dunk by Bamba pulled Texas back to within 72-63, Kouat Noi, Kenrich Williams and Bane made 3s to push TCU's lead back to 81-66 with under six minutes remaining.
Noi helped TCU build a first-half lead by hitting his first 3 attempts. He finished with 18 points and was 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Bane was 3 for 4 on 3s and had 17 points. TCU forced 11 Texas turnovers. The Frogs turned it over just six times.
"It’s a disappointment because we knew how good an offensive team TCU is," Texas coach Shaka Smart said. "We got to know that the first time we played them. We knew we were going to have to come in here and make them miss and grab the ball and we didn’t do either of those things at a high enough level to win the game."
Each time Texas seemed to be gathering momentum, TCU quickly hit a shot or made defensive play. TCU outscored Texas 12-3 on second-chance points. The Longhorns are now 46-45 overall and 20-28 in conference play since coach Shaka Smart took over in 2015.
"It was really draining," Smart said. "They made a couple [3s] in the second half [against] really good defense that they just made. TCU is a really good team. They move the ball, they attack, but we have to do a better job moving them off the line and playing with active hands. "