The Texas Longhorns lost in Stillwater 69-58 on a night when they righted many wrongs from the Oklahoma Sooners debacle, but left enough problems unchecked to give a soon-to-be-listed-as-also-receiving-votes Oklahoma State squad their 4th straight home victory against the Longhorns. As a basketball fan, these kinds of losses are arguably more frustrating than the beatdowns because the win was attainable for ~38 minutes. Credit due to Oklahoma State for hitting the shots they needed when they needed them. Holding home court is required for any Big 12 team looking to dance in March, and OSU won a big one at home.
- Myles Turner was fantastic. 6/12 from the floor, 4/4 from 3, 6 rebounds, 5 blocks...the only blemish on his stat sheet is 2/4 from the line & 3 TOs. Given how much he handled the ball, the 3 turnovers are forgivable and arguably better than his rate earlier this season. There's been some talk about Turner feasting on bad teams while not playing well against good teams; well, that should be put to bed for awhile now. He had a great night tonight, playing about as well as you can possibly ask of the kid.
- Javan Felix was great. He only shot 3/10 from the field, but his shots were quality shots and he wasn't forcing the action. His passes were usually smart, he was active in defense, and he played within the flow of the game well. We need him to keep playing like this, he was a positive force tonight.
- Demarcus Holland. He guarded Phil Forte about as well as any human this side of the NBA could - Forte is going to be destroying European basketball leagues and/or the NBADL for the next 15 years with that trigger - and he was assertive on the offensive end in many of the ways Texas needs him to be. The first 3 minutes of the 2nd half were the Holland(and Nash) show.
- Texas only had 8 turnovers on the night, which is well below their average. Considering the intermittent press they saw, that's not bad.
The Javan Felix Memorial(™) Mixed Bag Category
(If Javan keeps playing like today, I'm going to have to come up with a new snarky name for this section)
- Isaiah Taylor from the floor tonight: 0/6, then 3/3, then 0/3 on the night. He was 5/6 from the line, which is good, and he had some good passes to break the press in the 2nd half. I don't think he's back from his injury as much as we're being led to believe, because he's more hesitant trying to get to the rim than he's been historically. Even when he is getting to the rim he's not finishing at the rate Texas needs. I don't know what solves that other than time, but a tentative Taylor - and before you ask, no, I don't think Barnes plays any role in this - is going to be a problem for this team if they want to make noise in March.
- I want to give Prince Ibeh credit for his effort tonight. He got into foul trouble and was less effective on the boards as I'd like(2 rebounds in 8 minutes sounds OK, but he needs to get more), but his errors were ones borne of effort so I don't want to bag on him too much for it. Still, in a game where Texas owned the boards for ~30 of the 40 minutes, a guy like him should be snagging more balls off the glass.
Jonathan Holmes was as bad as I've seen him in 2 years. I don't know what in the ever-loving hell was wrong with him, but he laid an enormous egg. 0/10 from the field(including 0/5 from 3), 1 assist, 6 rebounds...he just looked slow, like he was on tape delay. Maybe he's sick? It was just so unlike him that it confounds me. I didn't focus much on him individually so maybe OSU just played good D, but he was out of sorts from the opening tip to the final horn.
- DO NOT RUN A 2-3 ZONE WHEN FORTE IS IN THE GAME.
- SERIOUSLY, DO NOT RUN A 2-3 ZONE WHEN FORTE IS IN THE GAME.
- (Thankfully, Barnes switched out of it fairly quickly, but good lord.)
- In 28 minutes, Cameron Ridley scored 4 points on 1/1 shooting. That can't happen. I know some of it was due to Barnes changing his rotation to keep Turner on the floor more, but if Cam's going to be out there for 20+ minutes he needs to not be a gaping vortex on the offensive end. And could we please outfit him with some sort of apparatus that prevents his arms from going below his shoulders? He could've had a couple easy putbacks if he stopped dropping the ball to his waist. You're nearly 7' tall, you can just keep the ball away from smaller guys by keeping the ball up. Come on, man, just..AARRRGGGGHH.
Look, this loss wouldn't be nearly as big a deal to the fans most years. Texas was actually the underdog on Pomeroy's site, and road wins are hard to come by in this league. On the heels of that OU beating, though, we're all more sensitive to seeing trends and reacting to a losing streak. We're all concerned about this team based on the pre-season hype and how they looked early in the year; I hear you, I really do. Allow me to offer this piece of consolation: last season, Texas started the Big 12 slate 0-2 after losses to OU & OSU. They followed it with a 7-game winning streak, including that Kansas Jayhawk whooping we all enjoyed immensely. So while there are valid concerns about this squad, let's not panic just yet. Texas gets a week off before facing West Virginia at home next Saturday, tip is at 5:15pm Central.