No. 2 Houston's rude welcome to life on the road in its new conference continued as it fell to 0-2 in Big 12 away games with a dramatic 68-67 loss at TCU on Saturday. Emanuel Miller converted a contested layup with six seconds left before Micah Peavy came up with a game-clinching steal in the final seconds as Houston failed to attempt a potential game-winning shot.

Fans rushed the court at Schollmaier Arena in celebration as TCU improved to 13-3 (2-1 Big 12) after beginning conference play with three straight games against top-10 foes. Houston (14-2, 1-2) led by 12 in the first half but suffered through another poor 3-point shooting performance in what is becoming a persistent problem for the Cougars early in conference play. 

In a 57-53 loss at Iowa State on Tuesday, Houston made just 3 of 15 attempts from beyond the arc. Against TCU, it made only 4 of 18. Even in an 89-55 home win over West Virginia to start Big 12 play last week, Houston made only 4 of 23 attempts from 3-point land. Collectively, it is shooting just just 19.6% from 3-point range through three league games after making 35.7% of its 3-pointers against league opposition while playing in the weaker AAC last season.

Jamal Shead did deliver a 3-pointer in a critical moment to put the Cougars up 67-63 with 1:27 remaining. But Trevian Tennyson quickly responded with a trey for the Horned Frogs, who were led by 13 points from Miller. Tennyson added 12 and Avery Anderson scored 11 for TCU. J'Wan Roberts led Houston with 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four blocks.

Welcome to the Big 12

Houston posted a 46-7 mark in conference games during its final three seasons in the AAC and advanced beyond the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament on all three occasions. The relative ease of the Cougars' league enabled them to dominate with gaudy winning percentages as they imposed their will on overmatched with athleticism and physicality.

By the time the postseason rolled around, they were established, confident and feared. Now, Houston is in a conference with similarly talented opponents and road environments that are significantly more hostile. It's apparent the adjustment will take time.

Perhaps the most confounding thing about Houston's dud of a debut in Big 12 road games this week is the struggles of LJ Cryer. After three seasons at Baylor, including two as a double-figure scorer for the Bears, Cryer transferred to Houston this season to infuse the backcourt with some Big 12 experience.

He was mostly solid against Houston's light nonconference schedule and scored 20 points on 7 of 12 shooting in last Saturday's win over West Virginia. But in this week's losses at Iowa State and TCU, Cryer went 4 of 23 from the floor and 2 of 10 from 3-point range. Houston is obviously going to need more from its leading scorer if it's going compete for a conference title.

TCU's validation

With a nonconferene schedule that ranked 338th nationally, per KenPom, TCU entered league play as something of a mystery. It was 11-2 but with losses to Clemson and Nevada, who were the best opponents it had played. It wasn't clear that a team replacing leading scorers Mike Miles and and Damion Baugh from last season was ready to contend with the Big 12's best.

The past week has proven they are. The Horned Frogs opened Big 12 play with a crushing 83-81 loss at Kansas that TCU fans will quickly blame on a controversial flagrant foul call that was assessed to Ernest Udeh Jr. in the final minute. But they bounced back with an 80-71 win over No. 9 Oklahoma on Wednesday before taking down Houston. 

Once upon a time, TCU was the new team on the block in the Big 12, and it limped to an 8-64 record in league play during its first four years after moving up from the Mountain West. Then, TCU hired Jamie Dixon. Now in his eighth season, Dixon just led TCU to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 1952 and 1953.

After Saturday's performance, it's safe to say the Horned Frogs are on track to go dancing for a third straight season, which would be the longest streak in program history.