A Team Effort

So much was made of the Longhorns' over-dependence on J'Covan Brown. In fact, the first Iowa State game, one that saw a Texas comeback derailed by an ankle injury to Brown, was often cited. But Tuesday night, Texas received support from every other player in the lineup, helping to hold off a late Iowa State rally and topple the Cyclones 62-55.

In fact, it was the Longhorns' other guard — freshman Myck Kabongo — hitting the big shots to snap a three-game losing skid.

"Myck stepped up and knocked down two or three big shots down the stretch," Brown said. "You want to see that from all the guys when you are struggling in the field."

Brown certainly had his struggles, starting off 0-for-9 from the field and finishing just 3-for-16 with five turnovers. He did manage 12 points, thanks to a pair of three-pointers, and dished out three assists. Those three-pointers, drained on back-to-back possessions, helped Texas open up what had been just a four-point game at 28-24 just a few minutes earlier. But Alexis Wangmene hit two free throws and Brown hit two threes, giving Texas a 36-24 advantage and its first double-digit lead of the game.

Texas pushed the lead up to 18 at 44-26 before the Cyclones began to whittle away the Texas margin. Iowa State cut it down to six points at 48-42 with 4:43 left and the crowd became restless. But on a night that saw big buckets from a number of Longhorns, Sheldon McClellan aced a jumper, Kabongo hit another jumper, then McClellan hit another. A three-point play by Brown gave the Longhorns a seemingly insurmountable 10-point edge, 57-47, with 1:10 left to play.

But Tyrus McGee rebounded a three-point miss, was fouled and hit both free throws. After Kabongo missed the front end of a one-and-one, Chris Allen hit a three-pointer. Julien Lewis made one-of-two free throws, then Chris Babb made another three. Just like that, the lead was trimmed to three at 58-55 with 25 seconds remaining.

But where the Longhorns had failed in previous games, they succeeded to close this one out. Brown made both of his freebies, then Kabongo swiped the ball from Allen and roared in for a layup.

"I am just trying to work harder every day," Kabongo said. "I will be in the gym tomorrow morning, just continuing to work out. I need to get better and everyone else on our team needs to get better. We all just need to get better as a group, which will help us win games."

Kabongo was 6-of-9 from the field, scoring a team-high 13. Lewis had 12 and seven rebounds. Every Longhorn who saw the floor scored, while seven of the nine had at least two field goals. Texas out-rebounded Iowa State 41-34, and held the Cyclones — who destroyed the Longhorns from the three-point line in their first meeting — to a 5-of-21 night from beyond the arc.

"I was pleased for the most part," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "We got the lead and he pushed it early. We were organized. When you play against a team that can shoot the ball like they can you want to make them defend you. We wanted to put the ball inside and we should have (gotten the ball down low) more than we did. But, overall, I thought Myck did a good job. We just have to make better decisions in the open court."

Royce White again proved to be a tough matchup for the Longhorns, scoring 15 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing out five assists. He did struggle from the line, making just 1-of-7 free throws, and committed four turnovers. Melvin Ejim was the only other Cyclone in double figures. He scored 12 points, had five rebounds and three steals.

Iowa State (14-6, 4-3) and Texas (13-7, 3-4) split the season series. Texas will now play at Baylor on Saturday. Tip is at noon.

"As long as we're making progress in the process, I'm happy with it," Barnes said. "We played against a team that is having a great year. We wanted to defend the three-point line and not let them get to the free throw line. If you look into it, they (Iowa State) get to the free throw line more often than their opponents. We had some big breakdowns at the end though. We had the lead and got careless. We had four or five possessions where we didn't do what we did to gain the lead.

"Overall, I think we made progress," Barnes said. "But we still have a ways to go."


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