AUSTIN (KXAN) — A furious Texas rally in the second half fell short in a 76-72 overtime loss to No. 4 Houston on Monday at Moody Center.
Trailing 33-25 at halftime, the Longhorns found their stroke in the second half to shoot 63.6% from the field, but the Cougars outscored Texas 11-7 in the extra frame to get out Austin with a victory.
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Texas guard Max Abmas had a chance to tie the game in overtime with around 0:10 left, but his layup attempt was blocked by J’Wan Roberts and Emmanuel Sharp snared the loose ball to help secure the victory for Houston.
Houston outrebounded Texas 47-36, including a 15-8 advantage on the offensive end. Houston scored 19 second-chance points off those extra possessions to Texas’ eight.
“That’s the best defensive team we’ve played all season,” Longhorns head coach Rodney Terry said. “We’ve given great effort over the last four games, but what has held us back are those second-chance opportunities.”
Houston’s Jamal Shead, a Manor native, led all scorers with 25 points. For the Longhorns, Abmas scored 20 points on 6 of 15 shooting while Dillon Mitchell notched a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
After struggling in the first half on offense, the Longhorns had two runs of 7-0 and 6-0 early in the second half, the latter with all three buckets by Mitchell, to take a 48-46 lead with 10:26 remaining. It was their first lead since 13:27 in the first half, and then they went for more. Texas extended its lead with another run, this one a 6-0 flurry capped by a Dylan Disu 3-pointer to make it 54-48 with 8:23 left.
However, as great teams always do, the Cougars found a way to get back in the game. Shead drained a pair of 3-pointers and then Sharp connected on another to cap a 9-0 run and give the Cougars a 57-54 lead with 6:25 left.
“We just stayed together and we responded well,” Shead said. “Guys stepped up.”
One thing that Terry said Houston is “elite” at is keeping teams from scoring in the paint. Houston held Texas to 24 points in the paint and the Longhorns missed 10 layups, shooting 9 for 19 from point-blank range. Texas also missed three slam dunk attempts in the game.
“Every time we play Houston, it’s a blood bath,” Terry said. “That’s just what they do.”
Texas (14-7, 3-5 Big 12) doesn’t get a break in the brutal Big 12 schedule as they head to Fort Worth to take on No. 25 TCU on Saturday. Houston (19-2, 6-2) has an even bigger task ahead of them Saturday when they head to Allen Fieldhouse to play the No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks.
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