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FORT WORTH, Texas – Jonathan Holmes figures No. 15 Texas needed a lesson in what life will be like as a Big 12 contender.
The Longhorns got it against last-place TCU, and won anyway.
Holmes had 20 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, and the Longhorns followed a big win over Kansas by erasing a halftime deficit and hanging on to beat the Horned Frogs 59-54 on Tuesday night, extending their winning streak to seven games.
"We've got to understand that we put ourselves in position to win a Big 12 championship but we also need to understand that teams are going to be looking to beat us every night," Holmes said after beating the only team without a league win. "We've turned into a team's big win."
Holmes hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:41 remaining, and the Longhorns (18-4, 7-2 Big 12) held off the Horned Frogs with several key offensive rebounds in the final 2 minutes.
Cameron Ridley had 12 points and nine rebounds, including one that led to his clinching free throws after a miss by Isaiah Taylor with 7 seconds left, as the Longhorns held on following their win at home against No. 8 Kansas over the weekend.
Despite shooting a season-low 31 percent, Texas stayed a game behind the Big 12-leading Jayhawks, who won at Baylor.
Amric Fields had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead TCU (9-12, 0-9), which lost for the third time in the past five games after leading at halftime.
"It's real painful because the last four league games, we've exerted a lot of energy and a possession here or there we haven't been able to get it done at the right time and find a way to win," said TCU coach Trent Johnson, who dropped to 2-25 in his two Big 12 seasons.
The Longhorns came into Fort Worth with four straight wins over ranked opponents, just as the Jayhawks did late last month when they beat the Horned Frogs handily.
But Texas was without guard Javan Felix because of a concussion, and Taylor struggled after scoring 23 points in the win that snapped the Jayhawks' conference-opening seven-game winning streak.
Taylor finished with 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting and had seven assists, but Texas had more turnovers (10) than baskets (8) in the first half with him mostly running the offense.
"I don't think it was a hangover from the (Kansas) game," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "I think it was being in a different position. I don't know what they've read. But we were tentative. And you can't play that way."
After Holmes put Texas ahead 55-52, Kendal Yancy missed a 3-pointer for the Longhorns but Ridley grabbed the rebound and got fouled. Ridley made both free throws for a five-point lead.
Texas outrebounded TCU 56-25 and matched TCU's overall total with 25 offensive rebounds.
"I mean, that's ridiculous," Fields said. "That's where the game was right there."
TCU's Brandon Parrish, who scored 10 points, had two driving layups with a chance for three-point plays late in the second half but missed both missed free throws. The second miss came with the Horned Frogs down 50-49 with 3:46 remaining.
The Horned Frogs scored the last six points before halftime and went ahead 22-20 on a layup with 10 seconds left by Kyan Anderson, who had 12 points and seven assists.
Fields scored the Horned Frogs' first seven points of the second half to give their beleaguered offense a lift, and Holmes scored seven straight for Texas as the lead changed hands three times early in the second half.