The Texas Longhorns fought off some sloppiness and a feisty Long Beach State squad, winning their 10th game of the year by a score of 78-68. There were some good performances & some poor performances, but this game was as much about a Long Beach State squad that's better than their 5-7 record suggests. The 49ers have played probably the toughest non-conference schedule in the country, with road games against BYU, Texas, and UCLA plus a home game against Kansas State on their ledger. They've got road games against Syracuse & Louisville coming up, so their record going into conference play is probably going to be pretty bad, but kudos to their coach Dan Monson for not being afraid to schedule tough opponents.
- Texas fought off a LBS squad that was ready from the tip & responded well when the 49ers took the lead 53-50 midway through the 2nd half. LBS is tough from 3 and was playing well, punishing Texas for cutting under screens repeatedly. Mike Caffey has a nice stroke and the pelotas to shoot from anywhere on the court; he reminds me a little of J'Covan in that respect. This is a game Texas could've lost, but they buckled down & made a run when they needed to.
- Connor Lammert had a double/double and is now the leading rebounder on the team. He should probably have the back of his jersey changed to say 'Mr. Everything' because his stat sheet gets stuffed every night. This is particularly important when Holmes and/or Turner has an off night. The depth of this team shined again tonight, thanks to Connor and some quality minutes from Kendall Yancy. Connor had an off night from beyond the arc and more turnovers than normal, but he more than made up for it on the glass & shooting inside the arc. He's probably my player of the game.
- Cameron Ridley followed up the Lipscomb game with another good performance, going 6-7 from the floor and ending up with a 13 point/6 rebound effort for the night. I'll take a game like that from him every single day of the week. For as hard as we've been on the guy this season(much of it deserved), we need to applaud when he shows up. Good on you, Cam.
- Demarcus Holland showed elite speed & agility by getting to a trash can before horking up his pre-game meal. I'm sure the 10 year olds with the squeegees under the basker appreciated the effort.
- Texas shot 80% from the free throw line. The non-Ibehs shot 16-18 from the line, including 4-4 each from Yancy & Holmes. Both of those guys are close to 80% from the line this year, which is great. Myles Turner is nearing 90% from the line; at 40-45 he's at 88.9%. Texas is going to win a game because of their free throw shooting this year, which is a sentence I don't think any of us expected to say non-ironically.
- DJ Mel played 'Shook Ones' during a timeout, which you might recognize without knowing it. I would've jumped out of my seat if I was in Club Erwin at that moment. Any way, here's where you've heard it(NSFW, because duh):
Javan Giveth, Javan Taketh Away:
- Javan Felix had a 'more good than bad' performance; his first half was good, but the 2nd half was up & down. He shot well overall, going 6-9 for 17 points. He also had 3 assists to 1 turnover, so there were some positives from him tonight. His defense was a little suspect though, and he made some questionable passes that ended up as deflections rather than turnovers so they don't really 'count' if you're looking at the box score. He also had a couple possessions where he left his feet with no idea where he was going and another time when LBS started a full-court press he froze like Tim Duncan at a speed dating dinner. He was a net-positive for the team, but let's just say I'm looking forward to hearing about Isaiah Taylor's cast being removed.
- Myles Turner had an off night, as did Jonathan Holmes. With both of them, it wasn't a lack of effort, they just were off their game. Holmes seemed like he was either nursing a minor injury or perhaps an eggnog hangover, because he wasn't himself. Of course I say that and he still ended up with 14 points on 4-6 shooting in 19 minutes. Still, he wasn't up to his normal level. Myles shot 2-9 and generally looked like he was forcing it; it's not a terrible showing, the shots simply weren't falling tonight.
- The defense was also off tonight. Some of this is due to playing a team with mutiple shooters who had a green light, but this game might offer a glimpse into future games against Iowa State as Long Beach State seemed pretty happy to shoot from 3 when given a little daylight. If tonight is any indication, Texas won't be playing much zone against the Fightin' Hoibergs.
Next up is an interesting matchup against a potential NCAA Tourney team in the Stanford Cardinals. The game is on 12/23 at 6pm and will be on ESPN2.