Texas began last weekend in control of the Big 12. Now it has to play catch-up the final week of the regular season.
The No. 9 Longhorns try to move back into a first-place tie in the conference Tuesday when they host Nebraska.
Texas (24-5, 11-3) had a one-game lead over second-place Kansas going into last weekend, but the Longhorns were upset 83-80 at Texas Tech on Saturday, and the Jayhawks beat Kansas State the same day to pull even in the Big 12 standings.
Kansas, ranked fifth, then took a half-game lead over Texas on Monday following a 109-51 rout of the Red Raiders.
The Longhorns look to bounce back Tuesday and try to keep pace with the Jayhawks as they try to regroup from one of their worst defensive efforts. Texas is second to Kansas in scoring defense in the Big 12, holding opponents to 66.6 points per game in conference. On Saturday, however, Texas allowed its third-most points overall and was outscored 34-9 at the foul line after sending the Red Raiders to the line 43 times.
We got beat. I mean, I can’t be any more specific,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “Texas Tech beat us today. I don’t want anyone to think it is anything but that.”
D.J. Augustin scored 30 points and A.J. Abrams added 14 as the Longhorns had an eight-game winning streak snapped.
“If you don’t play hard enough to win, you’re not entitled to win,” Barnes said. “And we didn’t do what we had to do today.”
Texas, which dropped four spots in the AP poll, closes its regular season on Sunday at home against Oklahoma State, while Kansas plays on Saturday at Texas A&M. In the event the teams finish tied, the Longhorns would be the top seed in the Big 12 tournament by virtue of their 72-69 win Feb. 11 over the Jayhawks.
Texas has won six straight over Nebraska (17-10, 6-8) and is 9-0 all-time in Austin—including 8-0 at the Erwin Center.
Nebraska had its three-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 77-63 loss at Oklahoma State. The Cornhuskers shot 50.0 percent—the fourth consecutive game they’ve shot at least 50 percent—but they were outscored 24-8 at the foul line and committed 19 turnovers.
Aleks Maric and Steve Harley each scored 17. The Cornhuskers were without starting point guard Cookie Miller, who injured his shoulder on Feb. 23 in a win over then-No. 22 Texas A&M. At the time he was originally though to have dislocated the shoulder, but doctors upgraded the diagnosis the next day to a severe strain.
Miller, who averages 6.8 points and 4.0 assists, has not dressed the last two games and is uncertain for Tuesday.
“We missed him obviously,” Maric said. “He’s a key part of this team the way he takes care of the ball and takes situations into his own hands the way a guard does. We missed him but we can’t take that as an excuse for some of the mistakes we made.”
Nebraska is 3-3 against ranked teams, winning the last two.