For the first time this year, we saw the Texas Longhorns take an opponent too lightly. The final score of 82-58 doesn’t really tell the tale of how much of the first half felt like a team not quite in sync; it could’ve been a hangover from the PK 80 tournament, but a more likely culprit seems to be unusual rotation patterns leading to groups of players who haven’t played together as much as others. Royce Hamm had 8 minutes, James Banks had 15 minutes, Jacob Young had 15 minutes, and Jase Febres had 20 minutes; I think the coaching staff might have used this game as a way to get the starters some rest, and the team as a whole never quite gained the rhythm necessary to separate from Florida A&M in the first half. Oh, and going 1 for 13 from three in the first half didn’t help.
Still, Texas came out in the second half with a better overall energy and slowly extended the lead until the damn broke in the last 10 minutes of the game. It wasn’t an exciting win, but it was a win.
One player showed up from the opening tip until his curtain call late in the second half. Osetkowski ran roughshod over a smaller/lighter team to the tune of 19 points on 8 of 11 shooting, 8 rebounds (6 offensive), and even snagged a steal along the way. The only blemish on his night was 3 of 6 from the free throw line, otherwise he did all the things you would want from him in a game against inferior competition. The shots that weren’t falling in Portland fell tonight; well, except for the lone three he attempted. Can’t have everything.
Jones had 14 points in 19 minutes, hitting all 4 shots inside the arc and 2 of 4 outside the arc. He missed his only free throw, but otherwise was really efficient all night. Jones is now hitting 40% from three this season and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. There’s not a lot more you could ask from Jones right now.
Kerwin Roach II
Speaking of somebody you can’t ask a lot more from, Snoop went 5-7 from the floor, snagged a couple of steals, and tied for the team-high in assists with three. He missed a couple of threes — you might be noticing a theme emerging in this recap — but otherwise had himself a good night.
There have been two games this season Bamba failed to block at least four shots, and one of them he didn’t play. Bamba is currently blocking 16.7% of the shots he faces; when Anthony Davis was at Kentucky, he blocked 13.8% of the shots he faced. Bamba is pretty ridiculous in the paint.
The Mixed Bag
It feels weird complaining about a team’s offense when they averaged 1.24 points per possession and won by 20+ points, but consider how many points they could have averaged per possession if they could hit the broad side of a barn from 24+ feet. They do a lot of things well; they get to the rim, they convert inside the arc, they don’t get blocked, they don’t turn the ball over much, and they rebound the offensive glass decently well. They have two areas that are keeping an offense that is actually pretty solid from being impressive. I bet you can’t guess what they are. Go ahead, guess. You’re wrong, it’s not three-point shoo- wait, sorry, you guessed right. Three-point shooting and free throw shooting are the clear negatives on a squad that is otherwise performing well enough to hang with anyone.
(*not applicable to Andrew Jones)
Mo Bamba was 1-3 from deep, which is 33%! He’s now 2-13 on the season, which is...not 33%! Texas had a lot of open looks from the perimeter and came up short, long, to the side, and once or twice hit nothing but air. Jase Febres, Eric Davis Jr., and Jacob Young combined to go 0-6 from behind the arc. That is less than ideal for a trio who get minutes primarily because they’re supposed to shoot the three well. The rest of the team combined for a pedestrian-but-basically-what-we-expect 4-13 effort. When a 1-7 team says “screw it, we can go zone”, you’re not lighting the world on fire.
Free Throw Shooting
Jericho Sims was the best free throw shooter of the evening, which says everything we need to say. Let’s just move on.
Texas has 6 days off before an exceedingly interesting game against the VCU Rams next Tuesday. Texas is favored, but they need to prove their worth in a true road game and it doesn’t get much better than VCU’s home court. Win this, and Texas can start thinking about winning road games in the Big 12’s toughest arenas. Tip is at 6 PM CT on ESPN2.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by Planet of the Drums.