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Shooting From the Corner: Baylor Bears at Texas Longhorns

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Barnes wins #400, Texas stays alive in NCAA hunt

Stick that in your pipe, Baylor
Stick that in your pipe, Baylor
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I guess it's safe to say the Texas Longhorns haven't given up on the season. Nor has our fearless leader, by the way.


Texas manages to survive and advance with a 61-59 OT win over the Baylor Bears, giving Texas their 3rd win over a RPI top-50 team and an important bullet point on their tournament resume. Things looked bad for Texas for most of the game; with 2 minutes left in the 2nd half Texas had lead for 61 seconds total. They ended the game having led for 2:52 out of 45 minutes, but they led when it mattered most.

It's an important win for multiple reasons, but to me maybe the 2nd biggest reason is that they finally got over the hump. Texas has come up just short so many times this season that the UConn win feels like a lifetime ago. The team has just missed out on a number of major wins to the point they probably felt cursed. Pomeroy has them ranked 333rd in the country in 'luck', which seems fitting. They could pretty easily have 3-4 more wins on the season if a handful of balls - or, say, a goddamn drive to the bucket in Lawrence gets called and no I'm not still bitter about that but it's true arrrgh let's move on - bounce their way. Any way, I digress. Just as I'm sure it was great for Jonathan Holmes to see the ball go through the hoop, it's probably very rewarding for the team to see such a hard-fought game end up in the win column. It's just one game, but it's an important one for a team in dire need of some good news.

Positives

  • Prince Ibeh, take a bow. Actually, it doesn't feel right for him to bow, he should take a leap. Like, say, this one.

Prince was a beast on the defensive end, blocking 3 shots and altering a number of others. He displayed impressive body control for the second straight game and seems to be figuring things out in a way he's only hinted at in the past. He'll likely never be a serious offensive threat, but he doesn't have to be to be an effective college player. If he can continue to harness the athleticism he has, there's good reason to think he'll average 16-19 minutes/game as a defensive terror.

  • Demarcus Holland wasn't showy, didn't make any highlight reel plays, but had arguably the best all-around night of any UT guard. 3/5 from the field, 2/4 from 3, and 4/4 from the line to go along with 5 assists and 4 critical rebounds. He was excellent all night.
  • Javan Felix was the offensive spark Texas needed in the second half. 10 points, including 3/5 from 3, plus a significant amount of time at point for a benched Isaiah Taylor. Good Javan is a plus offensive option, and Texas got Good Javan tonight.
  • Texas' first 3 possessions ended in a turnover; they only had 6 more the rest of the game. Any time Texas keeps the turnovers to single digits, they're going to have a shot to win the game.
  • Rick Barnes won his 400th game at Texas, making him the 9th active coach to win 400 games at his current school. Whether he gets much beyond a chance at #402 is to be seen, but for tonight it's worth congratulating hitting #400.
  • Nobody's getting suspended for the fight despite Connor Lammert, Prince Ibeh, Kendal Yancy, and Cameron Ridley getting ejected for leaving the bench during the brawl. Thank god for Baylor, too, who knows how could they possibly beat Texas Tech without the 2 spares they had ejected. *wank*
  • Jai Lucas still dishing out assists:

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The Jonathan Holmes Memorial(™) Mixed Bag Category

  • It's actually a positive in a way that Holmes is in this category instead of adding a 3rd story to the town home he's been building in the 'negatives' category over the last few weeks. He didn't have a good game and most of the first half was forgettable bordering on bad, but he finally started to hit a couple of shots and nailed a critical 3 near the end of the game.

I saw glimmers of pre-concussion Holmes late in the game, and I'm hoping seeing a couple of shots go down get him re-engaged because Texas desperately needs him to perform regardless of which tournament they end up in. If you get early-season Holmes paired up with Taylor, Myles Turner, and Kendal Yancy(gratuitous plug for my nickname idea: the YASSASSIN) and the Ibeh we've seen recently, this team gets scary to face.

Negatives

  • God almighty the rebounding was TURRIBL. They did better in the second half, but Rico Gathers was Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds against a big Texas front-court.


Texas is now 18-12 and 7-10 in conference play with a home game against Kansas State Saturday. It's also Senior Day - and maybe Rick Barnes' last game in Austin - so it might be worth it to show up to see Jonathan Holmes and the senior walk-ons off. Tip is at 3pm Central on ESPN2.