On one hand I want to rip out my own larynx watching the Horns play offense in a half court setting. On the other hand, I don't think I've ever seen a Rick Barnes' team defend the high ball screen better than this team did last night. Mix in a little hot shooting from AJ Abrams, and a tremendous supporting effort from Gary Johnson and Justin Mason, and you have yourself a nice ten point win against the Oklahoma Human Rain Delays. My Lord is there a more boring offensive basketball team in the country outside of the Ivy League? Is there a worse set of guards in college basketball? Ugghhhh. On to the grades...
DJ Augustin. C+.Just like the Aggie game, DJ continues to dominate the basketball and kills any chance of ball movement leading to easy buckets. To make matters worse, his refusal to enter to open post men is mind boggling and his lack of assists off of dribble penetration is inexcusable. He still dropped 7 dimes and had 2 turnovers on a decent shooting night. He needs to start being more of a floor leader by getting every body involved.
Damion James. C. The good news is that Damion continues to rebound like a warrior and defend his heart out. The bad news is that again, he disappeared offensively going just 1-6 from the field. The common denominator in both of his disappearance acts was he did so against teams with big, physical frontcourts. That will take care of itself once his J starts dropping again, but this team still needs more from him. Get to the rim. Get to the line. Score Damion, score.
Connor Atchley. B. Connor is what he is. He's a solid interior defender and a decent position rebounder that gives you a perimeter presence on offense. His ability to quickly come over and help on Griffin was key in the second half surge that gave the Horns the win. I'd like to see him shoot more from the perimeter but the good news is that Connor shows up every night ready to play.
AJ Abrams. A-. What can you say, the kid really stroked it last night in what was for the most part a defensive struggle. His shooting was the obvious difference in the game, and it really broke the back of a good defensive team. If he's off, just a little, Texas has a hard time winning that game. AJ still is a liability guarding shooters and penetrators on the perimeter, but he plays hard and when he's feeling it, Texas becomes a dangerous offense. No turnovers is also a plus from a guard that played 40 minutes.
Justin Mason. A.Look out if Justin continues to stroke it. He was 3-3 from downtown, played his usual active defense, and rebounded well from his small forward position. He's gaining confidence shooting the ball, and that will be key for Texas down the stretch. One of the best games of the year for a player that continues to improve.
Gary Johnson. A.He played like the defensive and rebounding warrior that everyone expected and did so against a pretty physical and talented player in Taylor Griffin. Gary also showed confidence with his back to the basket offensively eventhough he was just 2-6. His continued improvement will be big for Texas. Great game for Gary.
Wangmene. C-. Alex gave up baseline on a double team which led to an easy bucket for Griffin. He also took a wild out of rhythm low post attempt which led to points on the other end. Wangmene seems to be pressing at this point and his continued mental lapses cannot be tolerated. Frankly the kid should lose minutes to Pittman and Chapman. His 4 boards in 9 minutes keep him from getting a D.
Clint Chapman. B. Clint wasn't a good matchup for the banging OU frontcourt, but in his defense he really didn't get any opportunities. His one post move looked fluid but just didn't go down. It seems like we say that every week. Again, Clint needs to get stronger, but the talent is undeniable.
Pittman. C. I thought this would be a game in which Dex could exploit Oklahoma if we were committed. I knew it would be a grinder but our inability to move the ball and enter the post really hurt Pittman and made him a virtual non-factor. The way we are using this kid continues to puzzle me. Giving him 2 minutes in any game from here on out just doesn't make sense.
Lewis. Incomplete.He played 4 minutes? Weird.
Coaching. B+. Great defensive gameplan from coach by taking the ball out of Taylor Griffin's hands and forcing the young player to make decisions with the basketball. It was also nice to see him use most of his front court horses, running them at the OU star which eventually wore Griffin down in the 2nd half. The kids also played hard and never seemed to get down after letting OU get out to a couple double digit leads.
Offensively, we continue to get bogged down in a half court setting, a sign that does not portend well for March Madness. Again, I'd like to the Horns to run some more motion and jar whatever is ailing DJ from getting off the basketball. Perhaps Mason running more point is the answer. We'll see. In any event, it was a nice road win in a hostile environment.