FORT WORTH, Texas – Damion Baugh had a steal and a breakaway layup off the opening tip of the game to get 22nd-ranked TCU off and running in its home finale.
No. 9 Texas, which began the game still with a chance to share the Big 12 title, never even led, though the Longhorns made it close at the end.
Baugh scored a career-high 24 points, Emanuel Miller added 20 and the Horned Frogs held on for a 75-73 win Wednesday night, denying Texas a chance to play for its first conference title since 2008 when the regular season wraps up this weekend.
“We're still playing for something,” Longhorns interim coach Rodney Terry said. “You're playing for seeding, you're playing to put yourself in the best position right now for the big prize. And I think we have as good as a team in the country that has a chance to win a national championship.”
Texas (22-8, 11-6 Big 12) hosts third-ranked Kansas (25-5, 13-4) on Saturday. The Jayhawks had clinched a share of their 21st Big 12 title by beating Texas Tech on Tuesday night, and now it's theirs alone.
It was the second loss in a row and third in five games for the Longhorns.
Baugh made two free throws with 19 seconds left for a 73-68 lead. After Brock Cunningham's layup for Texas, Miller had a breakaway two-handed slam to seal it for the Frogs (20-10, 9-8).
“They did a great job of just fighting back. They did a great job competing,” Miller said. “But at the end of the game, we did a better job of just imposing our will.”
As for the game's opening play, Baugh said he knew where Texas would tip it.
“But I didn't know what he was going to do with the ball,” Baugh said. “When I saw his back turned, I just went for the steal.”
Sir’Jabari Rice had 16 points for the Longhorns, and Tyrese Hunter had 15. Marcus Carr, their leading scorer at nearly 17 a game, had 10 with his last points a 3 off a TCU turnover with 1:02 left that got them within 71-68.
TCU finished with a 46-28 rebounding edge and won even though Mike Miles Jr., the preseason Big 12 player of the year, missed all eight of his shots from the field and finished with one point on a free throw. He entered averaging 18 a game, but was in only his fourth game since missing five in a row because of a hyperextension of his right knee.
“We’ve got balanced scoring. I know Mike stands out a lot, but we’ve played a lot without him obviously," coach Jamie Dixon said. “It just wasn’t his day, but he kept playing, played hard on defense. ... Good to win a game when not everybody plays their best game.”
TCU made nine consecutive shots over a span of nearly seven minutes in the first half and had its biggest lead at 42-28 with 2:45 left on Eddie Lampkin’s putback dunk of a miss by Miles that ended the shooting streak. Six different Frogs made shots during that stretch. But after shooting 62.1% (18 of 29) before halftime, they made only 29.6% (8 of 27) in the second half.
“Great win for us, and did it with defense and rebounding, which is what we emphasized,” Dixon said. “It wasn’t going to be a pretty game just because we knew what they do and then what we knew we had to do.”
Texas: The Longhorns are guaranteed a top-four finish in the Big 12 with Terry, who has a 15-7 record since taking over in mid-December after the suspension and eventual dismissal of second-year head coach Chris Beard.
TCU: The Frogs have won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 21 and 24, blowout wins at Kansas and against Oklahoma, before Miles got hurt in the following game. They were 2-5 in February, including a win at Texas Tech last Saturday. ... Beat the Sooners again on Saturday, and TCU finishes over .500 in conference play since a 9-7 record in WAC games 22 years ago.
The regular-season finales Saturday with Texas home against Kansas, and TCU at Oklahoma.
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