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Shooting From the Corner: Georgia 59, Texas 57

Road game = loss, again

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Another road game for the Texas Longhorns, another loss for the Texas Longhorns. Texas is now 0-8 in road/neutral site games, and there’s no reason to pick them to win a road game this season until they actually do it. Pomeroy has (rightly) picked Texas to be a significant underdog every remaining road game with only the Oklahoma game nearing what I’d consider the ‘toss-up’ category. Stop me if you’ve heard this said about a Texas team in the last 12 months, but Texas is a significantly better team at home than on the road. Georgia’s not a bad team, but they’re also not a great team, and they tried their damnedest to hand the game to Texas in the first half. Texas thanked them for their efforts, then in the second half told the Bulldogs to hold its beer and to watch how the pros hand a game away. Truth be told, I’m not even mad about this loss; this is just who Texas is this season. They play to the level of their competition for 35 minutes, then play just enough worse than their competition for the remaining 5 minutes to lose. Texas is 3-7 in games that have a final margin of 5 points or less and have only lost 3 games by 10+ points, which tells you two things:

  1. They’re hanging with opponents throughout the game.
  2. They can’t finish out games.

This is life as a flawed, young team, and the only thing that can change the equation is adding talent and adding experience. As Al McGuire so astutely noted, the best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores. Texas has 10 regular season games — and barring an unlikely CBI invite, probably 1-2 conference tournament — so we’re roughly 23 done and ever closer to putting the final bullet into the back of the head of the 2016 season. It would be nice to see Texas notch a road victory before the season is over; they have the talent to do it, but they’ve had the talent all season long.

The Good

Eric Davis Jr.

Eric has become sneaky good at post entry passes; the whole team is better at them then they were a couple months ago, but Eric in particular has really learned how to manipulate his defender to create passing lanes. It helps that he’s now hitting enough threes (2-5 tonight, BTW) that the defense can’t sag off him any more in these situations, but he still has to hit those passes and he’s doing it reliably now.

Interior Shooting

Texas hit 57% of the shots they took inside the three-point line, which is a great number. One of the few things Texas has done well all season is hit their shots in the paint. You can thank Shaquille Cleare and Jarrett Allen for this number being as high as it is, though Andrew Jones is helping out quite a bit as well.

The Mixed Bag

Shaquille Cleare

Cleare looked like he was going to continue his Oklahoma performance against Georgia early on, unfortunately Cleare wasn’t able to adjust to the tight game the refs were calling and fouled out in the second half with only 8 points and 3 rebounds. He also missed both his free throws on the day, dropping his percentage under 80% for the first time in quite awhile.

Andrew Jones

A great way to make people forget about dishing out 8 assists is to turn the ball over 6 times. Jones had some excellent moments; he was active in the passing lanes, snagging two steals with a number of deflections as well. He was 3-4 inside the arc but only 2-7 outside it; he was 4-5 from the free throw line but drew a couple of bad fouls as well. Jones giveth, Jones taketh away.

The Bad

Jarrett Allen

If you had to guess which Texas player had the lowest Ortg of the game, you’d probably guess Jacob Young, which is wrong but never a bad person to guess. You might also guess Kendal Yancy, which is technically true because you can’t get anything other than zero if you don’t score, but that’s a cop-out. The worst Ortg of any player who actually scored was Jarrett Allen with a 42. Allen struggled with fouls in the first half and never seemed to get his rhythm in the second half. Allen has had a bad week after wrecking shop the previous 2-3 weeks; hopefully he’ll be able to shake it off, because this team desperately needs him to play well. Allen playing even 75% as well as he did against Kansas likely nets Texas a W today.

Jacob Young

Young isn’t good enough to take his mind off dribbling, but he does it any way because...I honestly don’t know. I’m still trying to figure this kid out; maybe he has a Tevin-like leap next season (preferably not leaping all the way out of the program) in productivity and we can chalk this season up to a steep learning curve. He’s got the shooting form to be a solid catch & shoot guy if Texas can build program depth to the point that’s all he’s asked to do.

The Ghost Inhabiting Kendal Yancy’s Jersey

I don’t have the desire to go back and watch this game again to see how Yancy’s defense was, because there are more important things going on in the world right now. I appreciate that Yancy generally plays good defense and this team isn’t deep enough to bench anybody entirely, but if Yancy isn’t going to give you something on offense, he’s not worth playing more than 5 minutes a game. Jacob Young — he of the lesser-known Hogwarts house Dribblis Mediocritis — is outscoring Yancy in conference play. His one three attempt was fine, but that’s about all he gave the team.

James Banks

Banks tried to contribute today, he had to put in extended minutes due to Allen & Cleare’s foul troubles. The issue is that he kept getting put up against Georgia’s best player in Yante Maten and Maten worked Banks over repeatedly. It wasn’t even close, unfortunately. This is what happens when a junior with good offensive instincts keeps finding himself against a freshman who is still rail-thin and not quite up to the challenge. Credit Georgia for exploiting this matchup, and if Texas had another player coughOsetkowskicough who could match Maten’s physicality then this might not have been the pain point that it was.

Texas gets a home game against Texas Tech on Wednesday, and hopefully Texas can continue to build on their (relative) home success. Tip is at 8pm CT on ESPNU.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by The Advent (NSFW lyrics).