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Shooting From the Corner: Texas Longhorns at Oklahoma State Cowboys

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Poked!

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Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports




Everybody wrap it up, we're done here. OK, that's not exactly how it went down. Yes, the Texas Longhorns beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys 72-60 in Stillwater, and yes any road win in the Big 12 is a good thing. Having said that, this is a bad OSU squad, a crowd that resembles a November scrimmage, and they're playing for a coach who seems to know he's making millions regardless of actual results. Texas playing even reasonably close to their peak would have led most of the way and won by 20. Alas, Texas wasn't playing near their peak. This looked like a Barnes March team, tentative, slightly confused, and waiting for somebody else to take the reins. It didn't look loose & confident; well, other than Tevin Mack, who has the conscience of Patrick Bateman after his business cards were dumped in the street. The last 6 minutes were good, and fortunately for my amygdala that was enough to put down the Pokes.

The Good

Demarcus Holland

Demarcus loves that baseline drive, and if he's going to connect on them then he should keep at it for the rest of the season. He showed more poise than normal, made better decisions than normal, and it showed in the stat sheet as he went 3-3 for 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and zero turnovers. More importantly, he took over defense of Leyton Hammonds for the last 6+ minutes of the game, relieving the Connor Lammert and his 43 pairs of missing jockstraps now property of Mr. Hammonds; the result is OSU's leading scorer went scoreless for the final 15% of the contest. Shaka Smart opened the escape hatch with the defensive switch & Holland shoved the rest of the team into the opening like he was the stunt cock in a Rachel Starr movie. Somebody buy De a 3.2% beer tonight.

Kerwin Roach Jr

Quick poll: before opening tip, who thought Snoop would end the night as the leading scorer? Snoop played an all-around great game, shooting 6-9 from the floor (2-3 from 3), scoring 15 points, snagging 6 rebounds, dishing 2 assists, and only committing 1 turnover. He was a sharp contrast to the other two freshmen and Texas needed every bit of his help. If Zay leaves for the NBA, I feel like the PG position will be more capably handled than I did even a couple of months ago. Good on him for making progress & changing from a high-beta raw athlete into some semblance of a D1 basketball player in a compressed timeline. Next season could be really fun for him.

Shaquille Cleare

Shaq scored 8 points on 6 shots, corralled 8 rebounds, and was for a time about the only consistent offensive presence for the Longhorns. He still has the stamina of an anemic sloth, but he used it all tonight. If Cameron Ridley never sees another game in burnt orange, Texas will need more nights like this from Shaq because he's their best offensive option amongst the 'true' bigs.

The Mixed Bag

Isaiah Taylor

Zay ain't right; the foot is clearly affecting him as much mentally as physically. He's not driving to the rim as decisively, he's settling for long 2s more often, and he's passing in situations where he normally goes to the hole. He's a warrior for even being out on the floor with plantar fasciitis and this isn't a knock on his (mental) drive or determination, but he looks like he's about 80% of his peak and that looms large for this team's post-season aspirations. He still ended up with 12 points on 5-14 shooting, 3 rebounds, and a 3:1 ATO, so even in his limited state he's still an above-average D1 point guard. As Zay goes, so goes the team as a whole, so it might be best to temper our NCAA Tournament expectations considering how he looks.

The Bad

Tevin Mack & Eric Davis Jr

These guys were both bad for completely opposite reasons; Tevin was unafraid to fire away (what's new) but the shots weren't falling, whereas Eric didn't seem interested in scoring at all. Miles Simon remarked on the telecast that Eric wasn't even looking at the basket, and he's right. I don't know what was up with Davis, but he passed up a number of open shots to pass the ball around. This team can't run on all cylinders with these guys not hitting shots. I'm not terribly surprised Tevin was missing - no offense to him, but he's streaky as hell - but seeing Davis pass up shot after shot was distressing. Maybe it was just one game, but it was still weird.

The Press

If OSU can beat your press with a lineup that consisted of Jeffrey Newberry, Tavarius Shine, Hingle McCringleberry, and a pair of Travis Ford's cousins, maybe it's not worth deploying.

Connor Lammert's Dry Cleaning Bill

Oxyclean can't remove the smell of what Leyton Hammonds did to Connor Lammert on offense. I haven't seen a white guy get whipped on a court like that since Brian Scalabrine played 1-on-1 against a bunch of Celtics fans.

That was painful to watch. Connor's a solid defender, but he had no answers tonight.

An ugly win is still a win, and with it Texas wrapped up not only a 20-win season but a spot in the 4/5 game in the Big 12 Tournament against either the Baylor Bears or Iowa State Cyclones Thursday at 11:30am in Kansas City on ESPN2. The win-or-go-home portion of the season is here, and Texas managed to make it to the biggest stage in D1 basketball despite a host of adversity. From here on out it's a matter of optimizing seeding, and a win against BU/ISU would setup a chance to take down the Kansas Jayhawks in the semifinals. If Texas can manage a couple of wins in the conference tourney, they could make a push for a 4/5 seed in March Madness instead of the 6/7 they're likely looking at with 0 conference tourney wins. It's time for the fun games to begin.

BWG's writing tunes provided by Green Velvet & Jeff Scroggin.