Horns Drop Another Tight Contest

For the seventh time Monday night, Texas found itself in a one-or-two possession game at the end. And for the seventh time, the Longhorns fell, this time 67-66 to Missouri, when a final shot fell off.

Texas trailed by that one point and had a shot to take the lead at the end of the game. But Missouri went to zone following the Texas timeout, and Longhorn coach Rick Barnes said J'Covan Brown failed to execute the proper play. Instead, Brown fired a high cross-court pass to Myck Kabongo, who drove in and took a contested floater over Missouri guard Matt Pressey.

"We just didn't want J'Covan to get a good look," said Missouri coach Frank Haith. "We felt like the zone would give us a chance to get there and contest his shots."

Kabongo's contested shot bounced out to Missouri's Marcus Denmon, who corralled the rebound to seal the game. Replays afterward showed that Pressey contacted Kabongo's left arm, and Barnes confirmed the foul in the post-game press conference.

"(Kabongo) did get fouled," Barnes said. "Curtis Shaw (Big 12 Coordinator of Men's Basketball Officials) was here tonight, and he saw the tape and told us."

But Barnes didn't blame the call for the loss. In fact, the defensive-minded head coach said that the Longhorns should have sealed the game the possession before, just after Brown hit a shot to take a 66-65 lead. That shot concluded a 13-2 run that saw Texas return from 10 down at 63-53 with less than four minutes left.

"We had two games here against both Kansas and Missouri, when we needed to get a stop on the other end is where we didn't get it," Barnes said.

Michael Dixon Jr. was responsible for this one, bursting past his defender and kissing the ball high off the glass to just avoid a block by Jaylen Bond. The bucket represented the last of Dixon's game-high 21 points.

"I just saw my defender was playing me to the left," Dixon said. "I just went and made a play."

That play kept Missouri (20-2, 7-2 Big 12) in the thick of the conference title race, with a big game against Kansas on Saturday in Columbia.

"It was a great win for us," Haith said. "I felt we showed some toughness down the stretch. You have to give Texas credit. We had a 10-point lead with three minutes left to play. We had some bang-bang plays that did not go too well, but with a hard fight, they came back."

One of those bang-bang plays helped propel Texas into the lead. Missouri had a three-point lead and the ball when Dixon swung the ball, his elbow making contact with Texas guard Julien Lewis. The officials went to the monitor and hit Dixon with a Flagrant-1 call, meaning his elbow impacted Lewis high on the body. That gave Texas two free throws and the ball. Lewis hit both freebies, then Brown canned the floater to take the lead.

Dixon hit 9-of-10 shots and had a great four-possession swing, hitting three jumpers in a row, then finding Kim English for a three-pointer that gave Missouri its biggest lead of the game at 39-26.

But Texas fought back to gain the lead, only to fall short at the end again. The Longhorns are 0-7 in games decided by six points or less. The Longhorns (13-9, 3-6) are running out of opportunities to grab a signature Big 12 win.

Texas will host Texas Tech at 6 p.m. Saturday.

"Everyone in that locker room wants to win so badly," Kabongo said. "Unfortunately, for some reason, they aren't turning into wins right now. One thing I know about our team and this group of guys is we are not going to back down.

"We are going to make a run, and we are going to get back in the gym and work hard," Kabongo said. "We just have to learn from our mistakes."

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