Longhorns Drop Consolation Game 77-74

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — J'Covan Brown has matured enough as a player that he's ranked among the country's top scorers.

But whether he's matured enough to serve as the primary building block for the 2011-2012 Longhorns (2-2) remains to be seen. In Monday night's consolation game against North Carolina State (4-1) in the TicketCity Legends Classic, Brown was again splendid on the floor, dishing out seven assists and scoring 17 points before picking up his fourth foul at the 8:25 mark.

The Longhorns led 65-52 at that point, just slightly down from the 18-point second half lead that Brown helped Texas build a bit earlier. But as Brown was walking off the court, he cursed — whether he simply cursed near the referee or at the referee is somewhat uncertain — and picked up a technical, knocking him from the game with his fifth personal foul. Without Brown, the Longhorns collapsed down the stretch, losing a second-half lead for the second consecutive game in falling 77-74 to N.C. State.

The Longhorns had a pair of chances to tie the game late, but Jonathan Holmes missed a three-pointer with 10 seconds left, and Julien Lewis missed another three pointer at the buzzer, just after the Wolfpack's C.J. Leslie missed a pair of free throws that could have put Texas away.

There were reasons for optimism throughout. Texas took better care of the ball, slicing its turnovers to 13 from the 23 they had just two nights earlier. And the Longhorns looked infinitely better on defense in building a 65-47 advantage with 11:43 left to play.

But the Wolfpack went on a 19-1 run that tied the game at 66 with 6:10 left to play, and surged to an eight point lead at 75-67 with 2:58 to go.

As the Longhorns did in the overtime period of their 100-95 loss to Oregon State, they fought their way back. A three-point play by Sheldon McClellan brought Texas to within five at 75-70, and the Longhorns were able to battle to within three at the end, before Lewis hoisted a three-pointer that fell short.

Leslie led N.C. State with 17 points, while Scott Wood had 16 and Lorenzo Brown scored 11. J'Covan Brown paced the Longhorns with 17, while Holmes and McClellan each had 16.

Texas will next host Sam Houston State at the Frank Erwin Center on Saturday. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

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