JIM VERTUNO (AP Sports Writer)

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Shaka Smart’s 3rd year at Texas a season of struggles

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas coach Shaka Smart is nearing the end of his third season with a .500 overall record, the team hovering near the bottom of the Big 12 and any NCAA Tournament hopes on the verge of collapse.

Even after three straight losses, the latest a 74-73 double-overtime defeat against Baylor, Smart isn’t ready to declare his team in a free fall.

”We obviously need to find a way to win our next game,” Smart said after losing to Baylor on Monday night. ”You guys (the media), you’ll do your job and label it whatever you want to label it.

”As a coach, you have to make sure as a team you do everything you can to win. We were one play away. But when it doesn’t go your way, you’ve got to immediately analyze why and where you need to get better. So that’s what we’ll do.”

Texas (15-11, 5-8) lured Smart away from Virginia Commonwealth in 2014 after firing Rick Barnes, who had made the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons in Austin. Smart led Texas to the tournament with a 20-win debut season, but the Longhorns made a quick exit after losing their first game on a half-court miracle shot. It was a blow, but the program looked to be on the rise.

Yet Monday’s loss left Smart at 46-46 overall at Texas and 20-29 in the Big 12. Baylor has beaten Texas six straight times.

”This league is very unforgiving,” Smart said. ”No one is going to feel sorry for you.”

That’s especially true now that Smart has a lineup entirely recruited by him, but one short on depth. Against Baylor, Texas used just seven players and the five starters all played at least 43 minutes. The Longhorns rank last in the Big 12 in scoring, assists, 3-point shooting and free-throw percentage. They’re near the bottom in rebounding on either end of the court.

The bright spot has been forward Mo Bamba. He’s one of the best freshmen in the nation this season with 13 double-doubles and he ranks second nationally in blocks with nearly five per game. But Bamba’s presence only amplifies the disappointment so far. Long and athletic, Bamba was one of the most coveted recruits in the country and is projected to be one of the top picks in the NBA draft this summer.

Bamba is similar to the player he replaced, Jarrett Allen, who left Texas after his freshman season and was selected No. 22 overall by the Brooklyn Nets.

Smart’s players didn’t want to talk to the media after losing to Baylor on Monday night. Smart said they were in a meeting ”hashing some things out.”

They have certainly carried more emotional weight than just wins and losses this season. In January, sophomore guard Andrew Jones was diagnosed with leukemia and has been away from the team while receiving treatment at a Houston hospital.

Texas rallied behind Jones to earn three home wins over ranked opponents, and the entire league has extended gestures of support. But Texas hasn’t put together a season-defining run, unless that three-game losing streak turns out to be it.

There have been no real rumblings that Smart’s job is in jeopardy. He’s under contract though the 2022-23 season with at least $16 million guaranteed. New athletic director Chris Del Conte has only been on the job two months.

There is time for a late turnaround this season. Texas looked like a safe bet for the NCAA Tournament when they beat No. 23 Oklahoma in front of a packed house two weeks ago. The rematch is Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma. And Texas will host No. 20 West Virginia, which pummeled the Longhorns by 35 in late January, in the season finale.

With five games left, Texas could still get to .500 or better in the Big 12 and make a run for the postseason.

”I think the team can still get better,” Smart said. ”We want to win, and we want to win bad … It’s a real test of our guys, our team, of our character, of our culture. We’re going to see what we’re about.”

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Baylor tops Texas 74-73 in double OT

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Written off for dead in the Big 12 just a couple of weeks ago, the Baylor Bears are knocking down wins and steadily pulling themselves off the bottom of the league standings.

And with a four-game win streak, the Bears are turning into a team that could turn everything upside down before the postseason tournament.

The latest came on Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.’s follow-up dunk with 8 seconds left in double overtime that sent Baylor to a 74-73 win over Texas on Monday night. Terry Maston scored a career-high 26 points, including 12 in the two overtimes.

”We need every game right now,” Maston said. ”I think we’re really turning it around in conference. We’re just clicking right now on offense and defense.”

Texas had taken the lead on Kerwin Roach II’s twisting layup with 20 seconds left. Baylor quickly went back up court as Manu Lecomte drove for the game winner. He missed, but Lual-Acuil came flying in to snag the rebound and slam home the dunk.

Texas’ 7-foot freshman Mo Bamba, one of the nation’s top shot blockers, had stepped in to stuff Lecomte’s shot, but the ball got over his hand and Lual-Acuil was waiting to pounce.

”I knew Mo was going to come over and try to block the shot. I stayed on the other side and was just hoping for a good miss. It came off the rim the right way and I was able to go up and grab it,” Lual-Acuil said.

Lual-Acuil finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Baylor (16-10, 6-7). Lecomte scored 16 for the Bears.

Bamba had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Roach, Dylan Osetkowski and Matt Coleman each scored 15 points for the Longhorns (15-11, 5-8), who have lost three in a row. The Longhorns have lost six in a row to Baylor over the past three seasons.

Texas is just one game out of last place in the Big 12 in coach Shaka Smart’s third season. Texas finished at the bottom of the league last season. Texas players skipped post-game interviews. Smart said they were ”hashing some things out,” among themselves.

”We’ve got a lot of guys trying to figure it out,” Smart said. ”This league is very unforgiving. No one is going to feel sorry for you.”


Baylor: The Bears got a huge game from Maston, who was 12 of 17 from the field and did just about everything he wanted from 15 feet and in. His only mistake was passing up a late 3-pointer in the second overtime that could have been a dagger. Maston isn’t a starter and only averages 6.5 points over his career, but his role in the offense could expand after this performance.

”Terry is one of the streakier players I’ve ever coached. When he’s on like he was tonight, that basket is pretty big,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

Texas: It was a brutal offensive night for a team that already ranks last in the Big 12 in scoring and in 3-point shooting. The Longhorns were 3 of 19 on 3-pointers and Coleman had just three assists. Coleman came on late with 3-pointer and a layup in the final minute of regulation, and a pair of free throws that helped force overtime. He played the final eight minutes of regulation and both overtimes with four fouls.

”To be 3-of-19 and be right there at the end, shows a lot about what our guys did in other areas. We just needed one more of those to go in,” Smart said.


Texas played its sixth overtime game this season and Monday night was the second to reach two overtimes. The Longhorns are 2-4 in those contests, which can wear out a team short on depth. Texas had five players log at least 43 minutes on Monday night.


Baylor hosts Big 12 leader No. 7 Texas Tech.

Texas plays at No. 23 Oklahoma.

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Texas guard Jones engaging public as he battles cancer

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The announcement that Texas guard Andrew Jones was diagnosed with leukemia prompted concern and well wishes from across college basketball.

Jones is now starting to offer glimpses of how he is coping with his treatment, and sending ”thank you” messages for the emotional and financial support that has poured in. After several weeks of silence, Jones has started posting messages on social media, including a short Twitter video Wednesday night of him shooting baskets at what appears to be a gym at the Houston hospital where he’s undergoing treatment.

In the videos, Jones wears a surgical mask and never leaves his feet while shooting about five shots. The basket appears to be about 8 feet high.

”I have to be active, can’t just stay in one spot all day,” Jones tweeted shortly before Texas played Kansas State.

Texas announced on Jan. 10 that Jones had been diagnosed with leukemia after complaining of constantly feeling tired . He had been trying to come back from a wrist injury but hardly played in the two games when he returned to the court. The last game he played was at Iowa State on Jan. 3.

”He spent the last almost month not on his feet. It’s good to see him moving around,” said Texas coach Shaka Smart, who has spoken with or visited Jones regularly. ”He’s got a heck of a fight in front of him. But you love seeing a guy with a twinkle in his eye and just a spirit about him, and he showed that on the basketball court when he played.”

Details on Jones’ diagnosis and treatment have not been released and the family isn’t yet ready to make more information public, a team spokesman said. Jones is being treated at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The Longhorns (15-9, 5-6) play at TCU (16-8, 4-7) on Saturday.

Jones’ diagnosis has prompted an outpouring of support across the Big 12 as well as messages from college basketball programs around the country. Opponents have regularly worn shirts with messages supporting Jones during pregame warmups or sent their own messages to Jones via social media.

Shortly after he was diagnosed, Texas set up an NCAA-approved donations webpage to support the family and it has raised about $170,000 so far. Jones, who is from Irving in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, averaged nearly 12 points as a freshman and considered leaving for the NBA draft after but returned to Texas after attending the scouting combine. His sister, Alexis, was a standout at Baylor and plays for the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx.

Jones’ family has dealt with challenges in the past. Andrew was 7 in 2007 when his father was paralyzed in a car accident on an icy road. Jones was ejected from the car but escaped with only some bruising.

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Wade and K-State beat Texas 67-64 for key Big 12 road win

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kansas State limped into Texas on the heels of an ego-crushing 38-point road loss that would have sucked the life from many teams.

If anything, the Wildcats looked ready to lay down against a Texas Longhorns team that had played their best on their home court and were brimming with confidence for a second-half run in the Big 12. Instead, Kansas State slugged out a rugged 67-64 comeback road victory that is rare to come by in one of the best leagues in the country.

Dean Wade scored 16 points to lead five Wildcats scoring in double figures, and made one of two free throws in the finals seconds that helped seal the victory.

Wade missed a second free throw that would have given the Wildcats a four-point cushion, but Texas’ final shot, a stumbling, off-balance 3-pointer by Kerwin Roach II, never came close to the basket.

”We came and we fought,” said Kansas State guard Barry Brown, who had 11 points and six assists. ”Wins like this build character.”

Kansas State (17-7, 6-5) trailed 54-52 before taking the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Cartier Diarra, who followed it with a steal and a layup for a 57-54 lead the Wildcats never relinquished.

Texas (15-9, 5-6) got within 66-64 on a 3-pointer by Eric Davis with 44 seconds left. The Longhorns had a chance to tie but Matt Coleman turned it over on a desperate drive to the basket with 3 seconds left on the play that sent Wade to the free throw line. Coleman said he was trying to lob the ball to Mo Bamba for a dunk.

”I should have just laid it up,” Coleman said.

Texas had protected its home court well after losing its conference opener, including three wins over ranked opponents, an impressive run that was key to building a solid postseason resume.

Against Kansas State, Texas allowed the Wildcats to shoot 54 percent and made just 8 of 29 3-pointers. Bamba, one of the top freshmen in the country, scored 18 points to go with 12 rebounds, but scored just three points in the second half and took only four shots after halftime.

”They kept switching where they were doubling from,” Bamba said. ”I couldn’t get a feel for where it was coming from.”

Texas coach Shaka Smart was fuming over what he called a lack of effort by his team.

”It’s going to be a very honest and aggressive film session (Thursday),” Smart said. ”It hurts a lot. I hope it hurts the guys as much as it hurts me. When that happens, you’ve got to be a big boy and find out how to win the next one.”


Kansas State: The Wildcats shook off some of their offensive struggles of late. Their 14 field goals in the first half matched their total for the game in a blowout loss at West Virginia over the weekend. Wade was fearless in the middle against Bamba, who is one of the country’s premiere shot blockers. Yet the Wildcats still were held under 70 points for the third fourth consecutive game.

”They are really long, really big, but you can’t not be aggressive,” Wade said.

Texas: Texas lacked the offensive punch it usually gets from Dylan Osetkowski and Roach, two of their most dependable scorers. Both were scoreless in the first half. Osetkowski finished with 8 points and Roach was 2 of 10 shooting.

”Right now, he’s questioning himself on things and it’s causing him to be hesitant,” Smart said.


After Davis’ 3-pointer, Texas still had enough time to get a stop and a possible shot at a game winner. But Roach fouled with just 7 seconds left on the shot clock and 18 seconds in the game. Because Texas had only three fouls in the half, the Wildcats had to get the ball inbounds four times without turning it over and Bamba’s long arms covering the passer.

Texas fouled so quickly the Wildcats were only able to trim 2 seconds off the clock. Brown finally got to the line, but missed his free throw, which set up the frantic last few seconds.

”They kept their poise. To get the ball in four times like that is not easy,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said.


Kansas State hosts No. 7 Texas Tech

Texas plays at TCU on Saturday in a rematch of a double-overtime game Texas won when the Horned Frogs missed a layup at the buzzer.

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Coleman scores 22 and Texas upends No. 12 Oklahoma 79-74

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Oklahoma’s star freshman Trae Young had been off his game but was starting to find his stroke when Texas guard Matt Coleman took a pass, stepped out and swished a 3-pointer before heading back up the court and waving his hands to urge the home crowd to get on its feet.

Then came another long jumper. Then a tough layup.

Even a missed dunk fired up the crowd by the sheer aggressiveness of the move. Coleman’s burst sparked a second-half rally as Texas stormed back late and closed the game with a 22-8 run to beat the No. 12 Sooners 79-74 on Saturday.

”I see every game as a gift and an opportunity,” said Coleman, who finished with 22 points. ”That was probably the turning point of the second half. We were down 10 and I felt like our sprit wasn’t great. We just needed something, a stop or block or steal or dunk or something to get us over that hump.”

Texas coach Shaka Smart leaned on his guard in a timeout to find a spark for his team.

”I told Matt if we play with spirit, we will win the game,” Smart said.

Coleman’s biggest mental test came when he made four consecutive three throws in the final two minutes. They helped clinch a victory that came after he missed three free throws late in a loss at Texas Tech just a few days earlier. Texas missed 13 free throws in that loss, but made 13 in a row in one stretch against the Sooners.

Kerwin Roach II added 19 points for Texas (15-8, 5-5 Big 12).

Young, the national scoring leader, came in averaging 30.3 points, but finished with 19 on 7-of-22 shooting and made just two 3-pointers while guarded mostly by Coleman and Roach. He also had 14 assists. The loss kept the Sooners (16-6, 6-4) from pulling into a three-way tie atop the Big 12 with Kansas and Texas Tech.

”I don’t think I got a rhythm,” Young said. ”All my shots were short or long. They were all on line.”

Oklahoma was just 3 of 22 on 3-pointers as the Sooners refused to abandon their long-range attempts despite the struggles.

”I wouldn’t say it gets in our head,” Young said. ”We’ve got to do what got us here.”

Young scored seven points in a flurry early in the second half that pushed the Sooners to a 50-40 lead before Coleman’s play reeled them back in. Texas forward Dylan Osetkowski’s two free throws tied the game at 66 before Young missed consecutive 3-pointers on Oklahoma’s next two possessions. Coleman made a driving layup over two defenders and another by Roach put Texas ahead by four with 3:32 to play.

Coleman had come back from the Texas Tech loss aching to make up for his late misses. He went 8 of 13 from the field with two 3-pointers and was 4-4 from the free-throw line.

”Every night since Texas Tech he’s been here late at night working on his 3-point shooting and free-throw shooting. It burns him up that teams back off of him,” Smart said.


Young continues to show he can do more than score when he runs into an unfriendly rim, and his sharp passes easily carved up a Texas defense that had eyes locked on him. Young had nine assists in the first half, most of them leading to easy dunks and layups as the Sooners scored 34 points in the paint in the half.

Young would have had more assists, but his teammates sometimes got caught watching him as well and dropped several passes for turnovers.

”He’s the best player in the country,” Smart said. ”A phenomenal player. If you can hold him under 20, that’s a win.”

Texas got its third straight home win over a ranked opponent and continues to protect its home court in the rugged Big 12. The Longhorns did it despite an unusually quiet game from freshman forward Mo Bamba, who scored 13 and had nine rebounds, but didn’t provide the defensive wall the Longhorns have come to depend on. Bamba has already set the Texas season blocks record with 96 but had just one against the Sooners.


The Big 12 is slightly irregular in that rivals Oklahoma and Texas didn’t meet in the first half of the conference schedule. That means they will play their rematch in Norman in just two weeks on Feb. 17.


Texas guard Andrew Jones is making progress in his cancer treatment and was recently able to get out of his hospital bed, his family said Saturday. Jones was diagnosed with leukemia in early January and is currently being treated at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Teams around the Big 12 have rallied to support Jones, and a website set up by Texas for the family has raised more than $156,000.

Jones made the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Oklahoma in Austin last season.

At halftime Saturday, a message from Jones’ Twitter account said, ”I would like to thank everyone for all the support and love. I’m doing a lot better and still fighting.”


Oklahoma hosts No. 15 West Virginia on Monday.

Texas hosts Kansas State on Wednesday.

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Bamba’s 24 points lead Texas over Iowa State 73-57

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Mo Bamba was mad when he ripped down a rebound and went back for a two-handed dunk punctuated by a yell and a fist pump.

Mad about getting blocked a minute earlier, and still mad about a humiliating loss at No. 7 West Virginia two days earlier.

”Our motto coming into this was, ‘Somebody has to pay for it,”’ the Longhorns freshman forward said. ”Unfortunately for Iowa State, it was them.”

Bamba scored a season-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Longhorns bounced back from the blowout defeat with a steady 73-57 win over Iowa State on Monday night. Texas led the entire way after a quick start, then shut the door defensively in the final three minutes to snuff out any hopes of a Cyclones rally.

Texas (13-7, 4-4) needed the victory in a big way. The 35-point loss at West Virginia was the worst of coach Shaka Smart’s career. Another loss Monday night could have put the Longhorns back on the bottom of the Big 12, where they finished last season.

At 6-foot-11 with long arms and quick hands, Bamba has been a force under the basket on both ends of the court. The nation’s second-leading shot blocker had three more against the Cyclones, had two steals, and even stepped out to make two 3-pointers, a season high.

Kerwin Roach II added 22 points for Texas. Roach made four 3-pointers and teamed with Bamba with assists on a layup and dunk early to spark the Longhorns’ offense.

”It carried over through the whole game,” Roach said. ”We kept the lead and coach emphasized coming out to a good start.”

Texas led by nine at halftime and stretched it to 13 early in the second. The Cyclones rallied to get within seven before the Longhorns went to Bamba for a layup and Dylan Osetkowski tipped away a pass to start a fast break that Roach finished for a 47-36 Texas lead.

Cameron Lard had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead Iowa State (11-8, 2-6).


Iowa State: The Cyclones’ growing pains continue. After knocking off No. 14 Texas Tech at home in their biggest win of the season, any confidence left from that victory disappeared quickly under Roach’s early long-range shooting and the dominant presence of Bamba underneath. The Cyclones are 0-4 on the road in the Big 12.

”I’m frustrated right now. I’m disappointed,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. ”We’ve just got to find a way to play better on the road.

Texas: The Longhorns have had their own road struggles but have been dynamite at home of late. In a span of 12 days, they have two wins on their home court against ranked teams and, despite a paltry crowd Monday night, came out as the aggressor against Iowa State. Texas won’t go back on the road in the Big 12 until Jan. 31 at Texas Tech.

Texas hosts Mississippi from the SEC on Saturday.

”We’re getting a bit of a break from the league when we know going into the last five weeks there are going to be a ton of battles,” Smart said.


The Longhorns came in as the worst 3-point shooting team in the Big 12 at 30 percent, but seemed determined to change that in a hurry. Roach made his first three 3-pointers in the first three minutes, Bamba stepped out to hit his eighth of the season moments later. Roach would make four in the game and Texas went 8 of 20 from long range.

”We don’t even tell our guys anymore a guy can’t shoot,” Proh said. ”Every time we do, they have a career night from three … That got them off to a great start tonight and that’s not really their game.”


Both teams struggled to score in the final minutes. Texas only made one field goal over the final 6:25 and that was a giveaway layup with 7 seconds left. Iowa State didn’t score over the final 4:10 after cutting the Texas lead to eight.

The Cyclones’ last chance died when Lard was whistled for traveling when Iowa State thought he had made a basket over Bamba and drawn a foul. On the next possession, Lindell Wigginton missed a contested layup and Bamba snagged the rebound with 1:56 left.

”I told our guys we’ve got to attack on offense, but if they don’t score, we’re going to win,” Smart said. ”We were up eight and they didn’t.”


Iowa State hosts No.22 Tennessee on Saturday

Texas hosts Mississippi on Saturday

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Roach scores 20 as Texas beats No. 8 Texas Tech 67-58

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas guard Kerwin Roach had already missed two games with a fractured left hand and was supposed to be on the bench for at least one more.

Even when X-rays showed Roach’s hand was healing quickly and he suited up for pregame warmups, Longhorns coach Shaka Smart didn’t think his sophomore guard would play against No. 8 Texas Tech.

Then came a sly hint from the team trainer just before tipoff.

”I literally was walking out on the court at the beginning of the game and turned to the trainer and said, ‘Can (Roach) play or not?’ And he winked at me. That’s how I found out,” Smart said.

Roach had a huge night in his surprise return, scoring 20 points and igniting Texas’ offense as the Longhorns earned their second home win over a ranked opponent in a week, beating the Red Raiders 67-58.

Roach said he hadn’t done anything in practice for the past two weeks other than conditioning drills.

”It really was a game-time decision. The first half, I was nervous. I settled my nerves with my first bucket,” Roach said.

That was an early 3-pointer from the corner. The moment it swished through, Roach jogged back down the court with a big smile while nodding his head.

The Longhorns – who beat then-No. 16 TCU 99-98 in double-overtime last Wednesday – also played their best defense in weeks, anchored by freshman center Mo Bamba under the basket. Bamba had 15 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.

”He’s special,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. ”I think he could block the moon and the sun. He’s got great timing.”

Texas (12-6, 3-3 Big 12) led by 13 early in the second half before the Red Raiders rallied to get within four. But the Longhorns got two big 3-pointers by Eric Davis Jr., including one with 3:28 left that pushed the lead back to 10.

Davis had averaged 20 points the previous two games, but had been lost in the Longhorns offense until his late baskets gave Texas a much-needed boost.

”He was frustrated earlier in the game. You could see it in his face, his body language wasn’t good. If this was a different era of basketball, I might have grabbed him and shaken him,” Smart said.

Jarrett Culver scored 16 points to lead Texas Tech (15-3, 4-2).


Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are having their best season in years and Beard has them contending for the Big 12 title. But they missed a chance to pick up an important road win and dropped their 22nd consecutive game in Austin. The Red Raiders haven’t beaten Texas in Austin since 1996, when both programs were in the old Southwest Conference.

”It’s really early in this race,” Beard said. ”The Big 12 doesn’t even really start until February. Everybody is jockeying for position.”

Texas: The Longhorns will get a shot of confidence in an inconsistent season with another big win. Most of all the Longhorns showed they can protect a big lead, even if just barely. Texas let a double-digit second half lead get away in a crushing road loss at Oklahoma State last week.

”We wanted our guys to be aggressive, confident and loose,” Smart said.


Texas has given away games with late turnovers and it appeared it could happen again, when three in a 3-minute span helped the Red Raiders get within 47-43. But Texas cleaned up the sloppy ball handling and had just two more over the final 8 minutes.

”We’ve been here before,” Bamba said. ”We just have to take care of the ball, All the games we’ve lost, it was (not) taking care of the ball.”


Texas played its third game since the program announced that starting guard Andrew Jones was diagnosed with leukemia and is undergoing treatment. Opponents continue to find ways to express support for his recovery. Texas Tech players honored Jones in the pregame ceremonies by wearing jackets with his name and jersey No. 1.

A fundraising website set up by Texas has raised more than $100,000.


Texas Tech plays at Iowa State

Texas plays at No. 6 West Virginia

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Sims’ free throw lifts Texas over No. 16 TCU 99-98 in 2OT

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas had just taken a one-point lead with 5 seconds left when TCU’s Jaylen Fisher drove the lane and went up for what should have been easy layup at the buzzer for the win.

Only someway, somehow, the ball fell out and hit the floor.

The Longhorns beat the 16th-ranked Horned Frogs 99-98 in double overtime to earn their biggest win of the season, just after the Texas program was walloped with an emotional sledgehammer: sophomore guard Andrew Jones being diagnosed with leukemia.

As soon as the final horn sounded, tears welled in Texas coach Shaka Smart’s eyes and Jones’ teammates held up his jersey as they sang the ”Eyes of Texas” with the home crowd.

”We got some real help from someone when that ball didn’t go in,” Smart said.

”Our guys really wanted to win for Andrew. He’s the one that’s been on our minds and in our hearts and I’m really proud of the way they fought. I hope Drew’s listening right now. I hope he knows we love him,” Smart said.

Texas got the victory after Jericho Sims made a free throw then missed the second. Sims was trying to defend Fisher when the smaller guard blew past him toward the basket.

”Man, I’m glad that didn’t go in,” Sims said.

Jones was Texas’ leading scorer until a wrist fracture sidelined him for several games in December. When he returned, he complained of being tired and hardly played. He missed a game last weekend at Baylor while undergoing tests.

Texas said Wednesday that Jones has started treatment but released no more details on his condition or his diagnosis.

”Andrew’s the best fighter on our team. He’s got a fight ahead of him. I know he’s really gonna fight. And our guys really fed off of his spirit tonight,” Smart said.

Without Jones and injured guard Kerwin Roach II, Texas used only seven players and four of them logged over 40 minutes. Forward Dylan Osetkowski played 49 minutes.

Before the game, the Texas players left an open seat on the bench with Jones’ jersey draped on the back. When it was over, Osetkowski and guard Eric Davis grabbed the jersey for the final song.

”It didn’t matter how long it would take. We wanted to get the win,” Osetkowski said. ”Everybody left everything on the line tonight.”

Davis scored 22 points for Texas (11-5, 2-2 Big 12) and Osetkowski had 20. Sims finished with 14 points and six rebounds.

Kenrich Williams scored 26 for the Horned Frogs (13-3, 1-3) but also fouled Sims on what would have been an offensive rebound to set up the winning free throw. TCU made 15 3-pointers but none in the second overtime. The final margin came down to the final shot from inches away.

”For percentage shots, I don’t think you could get one better,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said.

TCU had rallied from 13 points down in the second half and led 94-90 in the second overtime.

”This was special. A special moment,” Davis said.


TCU: The Horned Frogs have been in a dogfight in every Big 12 game and all three losses have been by four points or less. They will have to start winning these to get themselves out of the bottom of the Big 12 after such a strong start to the season.

”Defense is our problem right now, we know it,” Dixon said. ”That’s our mission going forward. This league is going to be games like this. Our problem is we’ve been on the bad side of three of them.”

Texas: The Longhorns got a big win but face a tough season without Jones. He was a leader and his presence will be missed on the court and in the locker room in a season that was supposed to be a big turnaround from a last-place finish in the Big 12. Smart will be leaned on not just as a coach, but as a father figure to pull his team through the season.

Smart had told his players about Jones’ diagnosis Tuesday night.

”Leaving that meeting. Guys weren’t just in tears, they were wailing. I said we’ve got to support these guys and be there for them. We didn’t know what was going to happen today,” Smart said.


Longhorns freshman Matt Coleman played the kind of game Texas has been desperate to get from a point guard for two years: active on defense, fluid on offense and a clear eye for the open man and unselfish enough to keep giving it to him over and over again. Coleman finished with 17 points and 12 assists. He and Sims connected on several easy dish-and-dunks in the first half.

”I didn’t know it was going to be this easy. We just kept going to it,” Coleman said.


Davis actually set up the foul that led to Sims’ winning free throws by poking a loose ball to where he could grab it. Smart said he’d shown his team a video clip during the week of nearly the same play against TCU last year when Williams got the ball, TCU scored to take a lead and went on to win. This time, Texas won the ball and the game.

”Coach kept playing it and I really didn’t get it until the game,” Davis said.


TCU plays at No. 9 Oklahoma on Saturday.

Texas plays at Oklahoma State on Saturday.

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Texas guard Andrew Jones diagnosed with leukemia

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Andrew Jones flirted with leaving Texas for the NBA before returning to school for what he hoped would be a big sophomore season and a splash in the next draft.

He was on his way. The shooting guard was the Longhorns’ leading scoring through the start of what looked like a big season. After a wrist fracture sidelined him for a few games, his return to the lineup was going to be big: the Big 12 season opener against Kansas.

He hardly played. Same thing for the next game at Iowa State. Two games, 20 minutes total. The 20-year-old Jones had told his coaches he was tired. No energy. Texas sent him for tests.

Then Jones didn’t travel to a game last Saturday just 90 miles away at Baylor. By Tuesday, coach Shaka Smart looked shaken and on the verge of tears when he said he couldn’t discuss what was ailing Jones out of ”respect for the family.”

On Wednesday, the school announced Jones has been diagnosed with leukemia and had started treatment.

”Speaking for our entire team and staff, we love Andrew and will do everything we can to support his family and help him get back to health,” Smart said in the university statement, and no further details were released.

”We hope everyone will keep him in your thoughts and prayers,” the Jones family said in the statement. ”This is obviously a difficult situation for our family, and we hope everyone will respect our privacy at this time.”

Texas hosted No. 16 TCU on Wednesday night and the Longhorns wore ”AJ1” patches on their jerseys. During pregame introductions, the Texas bench left a seat open and draped Jones’ jersey across the back.

Athletic director Chris Del Conte said the school ”will do everything in our power to provide all of the resources we can to assist Andrew and his family.”

Jones, who is from Irving in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, averaged nearly 12 points as a freshman and considered leaving for the NBA draft after but returned to Texas after attending the scouting combine. His sister, Alexis, was a standout at Baylor and plays for the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx.

Jones’ family has dealt with challenges in the past. Andrew was 7 in 2007 when his father was paralyzed in a car accident on an icy road. Jones was ejected from the car but escaped with only some bruising.

The announcement of Andrew Jones’ illness prompted a wave of support on social media, including Twitter messages from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and ESPN reporter Holly Rowe, who has battled cancer.

”Gut wrenching news for Andrew Jones. So much love & support for he & his family. We are here for you ,” Rowe wrote on Twitter.

The Kansas basketball program used its official Twitter account to send Jones a message.

”On behalf of the entire (hash)KUbball family, we send our thoughts and prayers to Andrew and his family. May he stay strong through this difficult time and we are eager to see him back on the court soon,” the Jayhawks program said.

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