Senior guard Kendal Yancy sat dejected with his shoulders slumped during a postgame press conference following last Saturday’s 64-61 home loss to
Yancy’s eyes glared down at the box score sitting in front of him. He had led the Longhorns in scoring with 13 points in the afternoon. But it wasn’t enough to deliver a win nor ease any discontent.
“When does the frustration end?” a reporter asked.
Yancy looked up, paused, then exhaled.
“As soon as we get a win,” Yancy said.
That frustration, however, may truly end only when this season finally ends.
Another loss followed Monday night in Morgantown at the hands of No. 12 West Virginia. The Longhorns (10–18, 4–11 Big 12) ride a four-game losing streak into Saturday’s home showdown with No. 3 Kansas.
With the postseason in doubt, what’s left of this season — three games, plus one last glimmer of hope at the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo. — feels like a slow bleed at this point.
Yancy, who arrived at Texas with Rick Barnes at the helm, only has a few weeks left in a Longhorn uniform. He knows his time on the 40 Acres is running out.
“We have to be able to respond after losses and be able to win the next game because there’s still hope,” Yancy said. “Any hope we can find, we’ll take it and run with it.”
Last year’s matchup with the then-No. 1 Jayhawks in Austin was an event unlike any the Frank Erwin Center had seen in quite a while. Students lined up around the arena outside hours before tipoff. NFL players Colt McCoy, Tony Romo and Jason Witten sat courtside.
Texas entered the game fresh off a thrilling comeback win at home over Buddy Hield and Oklahoma two days prior. The energy emanated from all 16,540 seats that night, but it all disintegrated as Kansas delivered an 86-56 beatdown.
Come Saturday evening, the atmosphere won’t be anywhere close to what it was last year. But for a team desperate to hang its hat on something from this lost season, Saturday’s matchup at 5 p.m. presents that chance.
“That should motivate you right there,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “If you look at it from a broader perspective, as a basketball player, the games like these and opponents like these — this is why you come to college, to play big-time basketball.”
Kansas got the best of the Longhorns last month in Lawrence, 79-67, but the game was much closer than the final score indicated. Texas dug itself in a deep hole early in that game with a turnover-riddled start but fought back and got within four points in the second half.
Freshman forward Jarrett Allen had a field day inside Allen Fieldhouse that afternoon. He scored 22 points and grabbed 19 rebounds. Kansas head coach Bill Self knows the Jayhawks have to contain Allen this time around.
“Jarrett Allen played unbelievable,” Self said. “Certainly we got to do a better job on him, and playing on the road is always a challenge. I really believe the game will come down to the last few possessions — it seems like every game does in our league.”