USA TODAY Sports
Horns come up short yet again.
0-5 in Big 12 play. Two games under .500. Like a glove.
The Texas Longhorns started the game with a Cameron Ridley putback. They then promptly turned it over on their next eight (8!!) consecutive possessions before a Prince Ibeh slam (following another miss, natch) ended the scoring drought. Almost immediately following was the TV timeout, at which point Texas (mercifully) trailed just 6-4.
The game turned (somewhat) more entertaining after that. The Longhorns went into halftime down just 4, 30-26, but couldn't muster a proper second half comeback. A couple Ioannis Papapetrou 3-pointers cut the Oklahoma Sooners' lead to 69-65 in the final minute, but Texas would get no closer.
Adding injury to an 0-5 insult, starting power forward Jonathan Holmes broke his shooting hand in the first half, sidelining him indefinitely. Never mind the expected losses to come; it hurts to see Holmes lose out on a significant chunk of development time.
As has been the norm this season, encouraging play was too often wiped out by head-scratching mistakes.
Sheldon McClellan tied his career-high with 25 points on 10-20 shooting, but had a puzzling first half where he was loose with the ball and hoisted ugly contested shots. He basically took on J'Covan Brown's "I can do bad all by myself" role in the second half, scoring 10 out 11 Texas points in one stretch. Midway through the second half, McClellan appeared to re-aggravate his ankle injury, but at least he'll have the remainder of the week to recover.
Unfortunately, McClellan's backcourt mates Julien Lewis and Javan Felix were net negatives. Lewis and backup DeMarcus Holland did a nice job silencing Oklahoma's Steven Pledger, but Felix was repeatedly abused by fellow freshman Buddy Hield, who ended the night with a well-rounded statline: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Late in the second half, it appeared Barnes benched Felix with one his patented "teaching lessons" before having to reinsert his freshman PG when Lewis picked up a fourth foul.
Likewise, freshmen centers Cameron Ridley (2 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Prince Ibeh (8 points, 4 rebounds) did a few nice things but generally let senior Romero Osby run amok (29 points, 8 rebounds). Ridley and Ibeh are struggling massively against a steady opposition of upperclassmen bigs who are better conditioned and possess more developed skillsets. It's nice foreshadowing of things to come for Texas, but right now viewings are more grisly than the pilot of The Following.
Both Jaylen Bond and Papapetrou struggled early but gave Texas able-bodied minutes after the Holmes injury. Bond hit a surprising 3 (he's now 1-4 in his career!), and Papi ended up with a decent statline (12 points, 4 rebounds). On the other side of the ledger, Bond's game is entirely below the bucket, which is unacceptable, and Papi plays half his minutes like Don Draper drunk at the wheel.
Texas' guards did no favors by failing to stop dribble penetration and transition drives. Consequently, the big men looked confused on rotation help, resulting in way too many easy buckets (including the multitude of Amath M'Baye alley-oops that brought down the house).
Texas hosts a horrid Texas Tech team this Saturday. Hopefully we're not talking about 0-6.