Kerwin Roach II

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Junior guard Kerwin Roach II has declared for the NBA Draft, but he has not hired an agent.

“My family and I talked with Coach Smart and we have all decided that it is best for me to test the waters,” Roach said in a statement. “We want to see where I may stand in this year’s draft, but we’re also keeping all options open. We want to get the most accurate feedback directly from the NBA, so we can make the best decision for my future.”

Not hiring an agent gives Roach the option of returning to Texas for his senior year. He has until June 11 to withdraw his name from the draft. Currently, Roach is not projected as a first-round draft pick.

During his junior season, Roach earned All-Big 12 Conference Honorable Mention accolades and averaged 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. He also led the Longhorns in total steals with 47.

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A season of highs and lows came to an end on Friday night.

And when it did — boy, was Texas low.

After surrendering a 14-point second half lead, the Longhorns found themselves bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for a third consecutive time.

Texas now heads to the offseason with the future uncertain and its most important player on his way out.

Here are four thoughts on the loss:

Ball movement beat out individual talent

Nevada was undersized and outmanned. Three Texas players stood taller than the entire Wolf Pack roster, but better fundamental basketball won out in Nashville.

On the opening play of the game, Nevada whipped the ball through the lane and around the perimeter in a sequence of truly brilliant basketball. The team found a shooter on the wing on its second possession, completely open, to jump out to a 5-0 lead.

While the Wildcats forced the defense to rotate, Texas found the majority of its baskets on isolation opportunities and put backs. For every Bamba dunk and junior Kerwin Roach II step back, the Wolf Pack answered with backdoor cuts and complicated screen plays for shooters.

Up and down the roster Texas boasted bigger and more talented individual players. But Nevada played as five, and advanced as a result.

Bamba's foul trouble exposed Texas’ other big men defenders

When Bamba patrolled the lane, the rim was closed for business. The forward sent away and altered nearly every attempt within three feet, and quickly Nevada got the memo.

Only once in regulation did a member of the Wolf Pack try to meet Bamba at the rim.

Just once.

When they did, Bamba snatched the ball out of the air with almost comical ease, foiling the dunk attempt and ending the possession.

But over the course of three minutes, with time dwindling in the second half, Bamba picked up his second foul, then his third, then his fourth. For much of the remaining time in regulation and all of overtime Texas’ rim protector watched from the bench as Osetkowski and Sims put up all of the resistance of a sieve holding back water.

Osetkowski didn’t pick up a foul for himself until the game had been all but decided. On possession after possession the forward allowed his man to find the rim on backdoor cuts and drives to the rim.

Osetkowski played as if he was the one in foul trouble, and the defensive lapses with Bamba sidelined exposed the slower Longhorn big men.

Even in a loss, Bamba outclassed his opponents

Texas may have been the lower seed, but it certainly wasn’t the underdog. And indeed, according to ESPN, less than half of the submitted brackets picked Nevada to win.

Bamba towered over every other player on the floor, exerting his will on both ends.

Early in the contest the forward muscled his way past a noticeably smaller defender and made a reverse dunk when the defense rotated to contest.

To the 17,552 people in attendance and the millions more watching at home, it was abundantly clear that Bamba was far and away the best player on the floor. But time and time again Texas failed to find its big man under the rim.

Bamba only took 11 shots in 31 minutes, most of which came on putbacks. His limited impact against a team who he should have dominated only highlighted the Longhorn disconnect.

Texas isn’t built to win shootouts

All season long, shooting, specifically threes, has been the achilles heel for this squad. Texas has hung its hat on defensive intensity and interior presence.

By the end of the game on Friday, that strategy had been thrown out the window in favor of a run and gun style. The Longhorns tried to match pace with Nevada, a team whose lack of size has forced them to embrace an offense of uptempo pace and lots of threes.

In overtime, the two teams were simply trading baskets. Bamba’s absence played a role, but Texas abandoned its identity, and in doing so, tried to beat Nevada at its own game.

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A 14-point second-half lead, career performances by guards Matt Coleman and Kerwin Roach II and a lopsided height advantage in the paint — the 10-seeded Texas Longhorns had everything pointed in their favor in the second half of their opening March Madness game against 7-seeded Nevada.

But minute by minute, the Wolf Pack scratched, clawed and erased the Longhorns’ dreams of attaining their first tournament victory since 2014.

A dejected Texas team trotted off the court empty-handed, wondering about the what-ifs and could-haves. The season concluded to the tune of an 87-83 overtime loss to Nevada.

“In a game like today, we need to add one or two more winning plays,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “That's the difference. One more stop, one more rebound. It's a cruel, hard assessment. But in games like this that go in overtime — and we've been in as many as anyone in the country — one play does make the difference.”

Nevada’s impeccable 6-of-6 shooting in the overtime period completed the Wolf Pack’s dramatic comeback over the Longhorns in Nashville. But to even get to the overtime period, Nevada asserted its physicality in the final seconds, down 68-67.

Just 3.8 seconds away from defeat, Nevada power forward Jordan Caroline showed no fear of freshman center Mo Bamba, posting the 7-footer up and drawing a crucial foul call in the paint. Bamba, who entered halftime with zero fouls, fouled out in presumably his final collegiate game.

Caroline’s first free throw bricked off the back iron. His second, with the season on the line, sunk through the fibers of the net. The Longhorns turned the ball over on an errant inbounds pass, giving Nevada an unlikely chance to win in regulation.

Caleb Martin airballed the buzzer-beating three, but that would be the Wolf Pack’s final miss from the floor Friday evening.

“I just think that us fighting and Jordan going up and hitting the big free throw to tie it up to go into overtime gave us confidence,” Nevada small forward Caleb Martin said. “You could kind of tell when we walked back on the floor, you could tell the energy of (Texas) was low.”

Despite Bamba’s absence, overtime opened up in a favorable manner for the Longhorns. Coleman, who had a career-high 25 points, drilled a three on the first possession and Roach, who finished with a career-high 26, followed it up with his second 4-point play of the day — nailing a triple from the corner and drawing contact.

“During (overtime), I was just trying to impact, you know, rub some energy off my teammates, try and impact the game as much as possible even from the sideline,” Bamba said.

Texas led 77-73, but Nevada’s long-distance shooting caught fire at the optimal time.

“Across the board, we just got guys that have played in hostile environments,” Nevada point guard Kendall Stephens said of the chaotic start to overtime. “We've been there before so we know that all we need is a chance. We're confident. Once we get back down the court, we're able to score effectively, and that's what we did.”

The Wolf Pack converted on three Caleb Martin threes in the extended period, creating disarray in Texas’ defense. Trailing 85-80, Roach wound up connecting on an NBA range three, but the clock did not allow for enough time for Texas to charge back from the deficit.

Nevada continues dancing Sunday in the second round against Cincinnati, while Texas laments on how a nine-point halftime lead and a 14-point second-half advantage with 18:42 to go evaporated so rapidly. From the 17:59 mark until 2:26 remained in overtime, the winning team did not lead once.

“Being up nine in an NCAA tournament game, you know the other team's going to really do everything they can to make a run,” Smart said. “Obviously, at that point, (Nevada) had nothing to lose. They were behind, they were attacking and we just didn't do enough to match them.”

Texas finished its season at 19–15, still without a tournament win over a higher-seeded team since 2002. The Longhorns’ roller coaster season, which featured an NCAA-high eight overtime games, concluded in Nashville.

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns’ thrilling, last-second victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon was largely overshadowed by the fallout from documents from a federal investigation published Friday in an explosive Yahoo Sports report on corruption in college basketball.

The report asserted that junior guard Eric Davis Jr. received improper benefits in the form of a $1,500 loan from ASM Sports. UT athletic director Chris Del Conte announced Friday evening that Davis will not play “for precautionary reasons until further notice” while Texas investigates the situation.

Texas was one of more than 20 Division I programs involved in the federal investigation, including North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, Alabama and USC.

A number of high-profile active players were also linked to receiving improper benefits, among those included Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Duke’s Wendell Carter — potential future NBA lottery picks.

Texas head coach Shaka Smart released a statement on the situation, stating, “I am, and always have been, fully committed to ensuring that our program operates within NCAA rules.”

After Saturday’s victory, Smart and several Texas players spoke publicly about the situation for the first time. Smart reaffirmed his condemnation of the alleged actions, but acknowledged the importance of the discussion they raised.

“Things need to change, and people need to follow the rules better,” Smart said. “We have a long haul ahead of us as a sport — to figure out what the right thing to do is moving forward. There is no easy answer. There is no quick fix.”

Davis continues to practice with the team, but he did not suit up against the Cowboys and will likely not play in the team’s final two regular season games. For now, his future remains in limbo as Texas conducts an internal investigation.

The new information only further stirs the conversation about the role of the NCAA and the student-athlete. The topic remains one of the long-standing and hotly debated issues in collegiate athletics.

“The stuff that has been on the media, obviously it sheds light on something that, as a sport, we need to address and improve,” Smart said. “I don’t have all the answers, but I know there is going to need to be a lot of change.”

Texas players, when asked, offered a more straightforward solution.

“Pay to play is how I feel,” junior guard Kerwin Roach II said. “I feel like if that happens, a lot of allegations and a lot of scandals and all that would be taken care of. But you just have to find a way where everyone gets paid evenly and there won’t be any problems in the NCAA.”

Junior forward Dylan Osetkowski echoed that sentiment.

“I’m not going to say too much about it. But like (Roach) said, I think we should get paid,” Osetkowski said.

And does Osetkowski think it’ll happen?

“Someday.”

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

It was a movie that many Texas and Oklahoma State fans have seen before — but the sequel reversed the roles.

On Jan. 13 in Stillwater, Texas led Oklahoma State by double digits in the second half, but a late Cowboys’ run swung the entire momentum of the game. On the final shot of the game, Oklahoma State claimed an unlikely 65-64 victory.

Down 64-63 as the seconds dwindled down on Saturday afternoon at the Frank Erwin Center, Texas junior shooting guard Kerwin Roach II navigated around the court, then crossed over on a dime and pursued the basket driving down the left side of the hardwood. A potential shot-blocker, Oklahoma State power forward Mitchell Solomon, stood in his way. Roach switched to the right hand mid-air to avoid Solomon and finished with an acrobatic, buzzer-beating layup with 1.2 seconds left.

Against all odds, Texas escaped a dramatic afternoon with an identical 65-64 victory.

“Coach just believed in me to go ahead and play and get the winning bucket,” Roach said. “At one point, I thought I (had to give it up), but I just wanted to see what I could do.”

The Longhorns’ bizarre win over Oklahoma State on Saturday can best be described as a pitch-black indoor roller coaster. Right when it seemed as if the Longhorns (17–12, 7–9 Big 12) would plummet into the ground, a launch of momentum would springboard them right back into the game. But at the final buzzer, Texas rose out of a freefall, gaining enough energy to claim its 17th win.

“In a lot of ways, it was the opposite of what happened at their place,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “Our guys did a good job of staying together down the stretch. We had some different lineups in there that we hadn’t played a lot this year, and we just were able to make one more play.”

Texas came out flat at the beginning of each half. The Longhorns didn’t register their first field goal of the game until the 15:01 mark of the first half. Texas eventually rallied to lead by eight points, but an Oklahoma State three at the first-half buzzer to make the score 33-28 sparked the start of a dominant Cowboys’ run.

Texas’ second half somehow started worse. Freshman forward Jericho Sims’ free throws with 16:34 left were the team’s first points of the half, but Texas’ first field goal didn’t even occur until junior power forward Dylan Osetkowski scored on a post move with 13:07 left. During those seven minutes, Oklahoma State spurred a 17-2 run to secure a lead as great as 10 points.

“To start the second half, there was one stretch of the game where the spirit got away from us,” Smart said. “We didn’t have the same energy and they were able to get on a run. When they got up 10, we fought back and guys made plays.”

But after all of the energy had seemingly drained, Texas recovered once more. With the absence of freshman center Mo Bamba (toe injury) in the second half, unlikely heroes, including Sims and sophomore shooting guard Jacob Young, helped claw Texas back to tie the game. A jumper by freshman point guard Matt Coleman vaulted the Longhorns ahead with 3:09 left.

“Stepping up is just my role,” Young said. “I have to step up because Andrew’s not here, Mo is out, Eric Davis is out. They basically just picked me up and allowed me to do that.”

The final 100 seconds ushered in six lead changes, as the two teams traded floaters and close jumpers to steal one-point leads from each other. Oklahoma State point guard Kendall Smith converted go-ahead shots on back-to-back possessions, including one to lift the Cowboys ahead, 64-63, with 22 seconds left.

But a determined Roach provided closing duties. Despite his 4-for-14 day from the floor, Roach didn’t waver as he converted a game-winner for the ages, turning the Erwin Center from a silent house into a grounds for celebration in the Longhorns’ penultimate home game of the season.

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

With eight seconds left on the clock in double overtime and a one-point deficit for Texas, junior guard Kerwin Roach II drove right and threw up a long runner in a desperate, final look.

But like so many of Texas’ shots on Monday evening, the floater fell short and Baylor grabbed the rebound.

Baylor 74, Texas 73.

It was a pivotal loss for a sliding Texas team that dampened any hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. After posting an impressive 11–2 home record through its first 13 games, Texas has now dropped back-to-back games at the Frank Erwin Center for the first time this season.

“They are really upset,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “And some of these guys are really angry, because some of those guys put their egos aside and came together in terms of attacking and battling. But obviously we came up one stop short.”

Texas missed 11 of its first 12 shots as Baylor took an early 13-6 lead.

The Longhorns rank at the bottom of the Big 12 in 3-point shooting, a fact that Baylor took full advantage of in the opening half. Even with freshman guard Jase Febres — the team’s top marksman from three — back in the starting lineup, Texas shot a miserable 2-of-11 in the first half from deep.

The Longhorns converted on just one field goal at the midway point of the half. And even then, the points came on contested mid-range jumpers. The offense was flat.

With under 10 minutes to play in the first half, Baylor scored on an easy layup off an inbound pass, forcing Texas head coach Shaka Smart to burn a timeout. That break proved to be the turning point of the opening period.

“Particularly in the first half, they didn’t let (poor shooting) get them down,” Smart said. “We had some good looks we didn’t make. We got the ball inside pretty well a few times where we didn’t put it away. That happened a couple times.”

Out of the timeout a three by junior guard Eric Davis Jr. gave Texas a badly needed spark. Roach got a dunk off a steal, then freshman forward Mo Bamba brought the crowd to its feet with a thunderous dunk off the lob from the junior guard to cut the lead to one.

Moments later, the same duo connected on an identical, yet even more spectacular, alley-oop, and Texas took its first lead since the opening seconds.

The two teams traded baskets and entered halftime separated by a single possession, with the Bears clinging to a two-point advantage.

The Longhorns missed four uncontested shots from behind the arc to open the second half, including an airball from Davis as Baylor jumped out to an early five-point lead.

But it was Bamba who set the tone again for Texas. A huge rejection on Baylor forward Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. led to a layup on the other end for Bamba — Texas’ first points of the second half after nearly five minutes.

Baylor maintained a two-possession advantage until the 11-minute mark. Whether it was mismatches or a lack of effort from Texas, the Bears had little trouble abusing the Longhorns on both ends of the court. Texas looked deflated as Baylor pressed the attack, pulling ahead by eight with four minutes to play.

But the Texas players kept grinding. On the heels of a technical foul by Baylor, a late three from freshman guard Matt Coleman and a scoop layup under the rim brought the Longhorns within one with 30 seconds left in regulation. Moments later, Coleman went to the line, calmly hitting two free throws to tie the game for the Longhorns at 56.

Baylor missed a final look from deep as the two teams headed into overtime. Neither squad was able to command an advantage in the ensuing five minutes. After a pair of free throws from Roach tied the game at 64, the two teams headed into a second overtime period.

Again both teams failed to create any meaningful separation.

Texas and Baylor traded layups on both ends as time ran down. With under 15 seconds to play, Baylor took a one-point lead on a dunk inside.

“I knew that Mo was going to block the shot, and I was just hoping for a good miss,” Lual-Acuil Jr. said. “And thankfully I went up and I got it.”

The late runner by Roach proved just off the mark, and Texas (15–11, 5–8 Big 12) saw its postseason hopes suffer a massive blow in disappointing fashion.

“Slow starts make it tough,” Smart said. “That being said, our guys battled and forced overtime, forced double overtime. But even as we took the lead, they weren’t able to stop them.”

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

With 10 games remaining in an up-and-down season, Saturday’s bout was about setting the tone for the final stretch.

And the message was clear.

Looking as dominant as the conference they represented, the Longhorns (14–7, 4–4 Big 12) cruised to an 85-72 victory over Ole Miss in the Big 12/SEC challenge at the Frank Erwin Center. The win gave Texas back-to-back wins for the first time in over a month.

“We came out here wanting to win,” junior guard Kerwin Roach II said. “We were just more hungry. We also wanted to win once we got back on the road, and this was a great way to start it.”

For a second straight game, freshman forward Mo Bamba recorded a career-high scoring performance, earning 25 points and collecting 15 rebounds to go along with four blocks.

“Mississippi came in with a level of physicality and aggressiveness — especially against Mo — but against all of our guys,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “We needed to stand up to that, and our guys did a nice job.”

Texas went straight at Ole Miss from the opening tip. The Longhorns’ starters came out firing, looking to punish the Rebels’ smaller lineup.

Bamba drew a foul on the opening possession while wrestling for position on the block. On the next possession, he motored into the paint and missed his first shot but corralled the rebound and laid it up amid the sea of arms around the rim.

Junior forward Dylan Osetkowski built on the early aggression, getting to the line twice in the first five minutes to give Texas an early 7-3 lead.

Roach picked up right where he left off after a career night against Iowa State on Monday.

Osetkowski skipped a pass outside after being double-teamed in the post, and Roach buried the open triple. Moments later, Roach connected on a second shot from three off a high screen, and Texas took a 15-10 lead over the Rebels.

But midway through the first half, Texas was briefly without its interior stopper as Bamba headed to the locker room to be evaluated for a left thigh injury.

Ole Miss took advantage of Bamba’s absence and began to close the gap, as sophomore forward Dominik Olejniczak rattled off 14 points in the first half.

Bamba soon returned, and the momentum shifted firmly back in Texas’ favor. With time winding down before the break, Roach found Osetkowski under the rim on a no-look assist for the and-one play. On the next possession, Coleman hit Osetkowski in the same spot, and Texas took a 33-28 lead — part of six straight points for Osetkowski.

Freshman guard Jase Febres connected on two threes, and Osetkowski converted a third layup as Texas pulled ahead by double-digits. Texas led 45-36 at halftime with two players already in double-figures.

On the opening play of the second half, Coleman dropped off a pass to Bamba under the rim for a two-handed slam. On the next two possessions, the Rebels sent Osetkowski and Bamba to the line to add to the Texas lead.

Roach then found a layup in transition, and Bamba pinned his defender for another easy dunk as Texas built a double-digit lead. By the 12-minute mark, the Longhorns’ second unit had ballooned the lead to 60-45.

Bamba added a few more rim-rocking slams and a highlight block as Texas coasted down the final stretch.

“We needed to get on a win streak,” Bamba said. “This was a very challenging team. But we see no reason why we can’t keep winning.”

Texas now sets its sights on the second half of Big 12 play, starting with a road game against Texas Tech on Monday. The Red Raiders have yet to lose at home this season.

“We wanted to get our mind right going back into conference,” Roach said of Saturday’s win. “Start the second half of conference on a new page, and just get on the road and get into it.”

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns took a break from their conference schedule on Saturday and hosted Ole Miss in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Here are five takeaways from Texas' 85-72 victory:

Roach continues shooting streak

Until a few weeks ago, junior guard Kerwin Roach II’s offensive specialty was scoring around the rim. He entered this season as a 30.3-percent 3-point shooter, but since returning from a hand injury, the junior has been lethal from range. In his return to the court against Texas Tech on Jan. 17, Roach drained multiple threes for just the second time in the season. He followed this performance up by exploding for a season-best of four threes on five attempts against Iowa State.

Roach has clearly gained confidence in his shot, and he converted on his first two threes in the early portion of the first half on Saturday against Ole Miss to boost the Longhorns’ offense. Roach now sits at a respectable 9-of-18 from deep in his last four games.

Bamba briefly leaves game with injury

Freshman center Mo Bamba quickly impacted the game with his rebounding. But during the early stages of the opening half, Bamba also left the court and headed to the locker room with a trainer. Bamba’s left thigh was evaluated during the time, per Texas.

He quickly returned to the hardwood and was inserted into the game with 9:52 left in the first half. Bamba played the remainder of the game without any struggle, dropping in a new career-high 25 points and hauling in 15 rebounds in just 28 minutes. Bamba’s shooting has improved as of late as he swished his only three of the day and knocked down 12-of-13 from the charity stripe.

Osetkowski’s offensive rebounding pays off

Dylan Osetkowski absolutely dominated from the low block on Saturday. The junior power forward finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Four of those rebounds occurred on the offensive end of the floor, and Osetkowski was easily able to get in position to grab boards as soon as a shot was launched.

Texas scored 14 second-chance points in the victory, and Osetkowski’s presence was a primary reason why the Longhorns were able to make the most out of their offensive possessions.

Texas struggles to stop post-hook, but adjusts

Although Bamba and Osetkowski dominated in the paint offensively, the Longhorns initially struggled with containing Ole Miss center Dominik Olejniczak. The 7-foot Polish big man dropped in 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the first half alone, often repeating the same move in the post.

His hook shot from down low was virtually unstoppable without a double-team, and it was a surprise Ole Miss didn’t use him more often. All but two of his points were in the first half, and the Rebels’ offense vanished during the second half when Olejniczak wasn’t frequently utilized. Olejniczak attempted just four field goals in the second half, none of which landed in the cylinder.

Longhorns continue to thrive at home

Big 12 play hasn’t been too kind to the Longhorns, as they entered Saturday with a conference record of 4–4. Texas (14–7) got four days off without traveling before the matchup with the SEC’s Ole Miss, and the Longhorns were able to coast to a 13-point victory over the Rebels.

The win marked Texas’ fourth consecutive home triumph, and head coach Shaka Smart’s team improved to 10–2 at the Frank Erwin Center this season. Although the Longhorns have consistently brought their A-game in Austin, this was their first double-digit win on their own hardwood since Dec. 16’s 75-60 final over Louisiana Tech.

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

Less than two minutes into the game, junior guard Kerwin Roach II pulled up from beyond the arc at the Frank Erwin Center. 

Bucket. 

Then he launched another triple. Bucket. 

His next two threes? Both buckets.

Roach’s offensive surge has given the Longhorns a spark in both of the past two home games now. On Monday night, Roach bolstered Texas’ 73-57 win over Iowa State. 

Entering the matchup as a 29.5 percent 3-point shooter, Roach’s immaculate 4-of-4 shooting from deep in the first half lifted Texas to one of its best offensive showings of the season. Surprisingly, Roach’s recent breakthrough simultaneously lines up with his return from a fractured left hand.

“I’m a junior, so I’ve been playing the game for a while,” Roach said. “Just being out just burned that fire into me. The time I spent off, I did a lot of form shooting and got my mechanics together — just slowed down and took my time during my shots.”

The junior guard tied his career high with 22 points, but Texas was blessed with a second star on the offensive end — Mo Bamba. 

The freshman forward splashed onto the scene Monday by sinking a spot-up three and slamming multiple authoritative dunks over the Cyclones’ defense. Bamba posted a career-high 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in his strongest game at Texas.

“His motor has really improved,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “He’s really responded better and quicker, when before, it just took him longer. I thought tonight was about as clean of a game as he’s played in terms of efficiency.”

Iowa State’s offense gathered some momentum in the second half and managed to strike as close as six points. But before the Cyclones could turn the corner, Bamba’s scoring swung the game back in the Longhorns’ favor. The future lottery pick nailed 9-of-11 shots on the night and refused to allow any easy baskets on the defensive end.

Texas relied on its defense in the closing moments. The Longhorns didn’t score a single point from the 6:24 mark until just 1:03 remained in the game. But the Cyclones hit a skid of their own, going scoreless over the last four minutes and 10 seconds. The final buzzer concluded a rare wire-to-wire Big 12 victory for Texas — good for a third-straight home win.

“We tried to go small the last couple minutes, and I don’t know if that was a factor with our rhythm because we don’t play that a lot,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said. “We were going to try to go small and see if we could cause some problems for them down the stretch. It wasn’t good for us.”

Both teams in this Big 12 clash fared very differently in their games this past Saturday. Texas suffered a 35-point demolition to a talented West Virginia team, while Iowa State breezed past then-No. 8 Texas Tech, 70-52. But the Longhorns and Cyclones trended in opposite directions when battling Monday night.

“It was a quick turnaround, but at the same time, we had to go into self-reflection mode and build off of what we could do better,” Bamba said. “Our motto coming into this was ‘somebody has to pay for it,’ and unfortunately for Iowa State it was them. The league is very competitive, and you definitely don’t want to go on a losing streak.”

Texas (13–7, 4–4 Big 12) hasn’t won consecutive games since mid-December. The Longhorns will get the opportunity to finally do so on their own hardwood on Saturday when they host a 10–9 Ole Miss squad in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.