When Texas was up by 15 on Iowa State in the first half, I offered up this tweet:
Texas frankly should be up by 20+, and I have a bad feeling there's a 11-0 ISU run coming.— (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ 1461 (@Bitterwhiteguy) February 8, 2017
Iowa State went on a 14-1 run not long after, and I had to vacillate between displeasure at the inevitable Texas downturn and also maybe pat myself on the back a little for being right because it doesn’t happen nearly as often as I like to think it does. Texas started to let up against a team that is notorious for erasing deficits, thinking they’re playing against a normal team and not the Friday the 13th of teams, Iowa State. I have spent the last 6-7 years watching Iowa State, seeing them fuck off for the better part of a half, only to wake up, score 23 points in 5 minutes, and win games. That other shoe, it’s going to drop; Hoiberg stacked a pile of second shoes a mile high and casually tossed them into an arena whenever it suited him. Prohm is now pulling from the small pile of shoes Fred left when he went to the Chicago Bulls, and like a dog that’s been hit in the face by a couple tennis balls in a row, I’m always flinching at the sight of a Wilson coming around the corner. This may largely be Hoiberg’s roster, but Prohm gets the benefit of a gifted offensive team who won’t shoot 1-10 from three forever. Thankfully for Texas — and my liver, which has taken a beating the likes of which Doug Stanhope would grimace seeing — Iowa State was never able to land the death blow. Texas never once trailed in this game; Iowa State tied it late in the second half, but never actually took the lead despite me experiencing Dead Zone premonitions of Texas’ demise throughout most of the second half. Instead of Texas doing juuuuuust enough to lose a game, they did juuuuuust enough to win a game. In a season defined by progress that doesn’t translate to wins, they finally got a little luck on their side. At this point in the season, we are a one-armed man in a knife fight; it doesn’t matter if we win because the other guy had a stroke, we’re taking the win and running with it.
Guess What, It’s Jarrett Allen
The only thing that kept Allen from putting up a 20/10 tonight was Iowa State going to essentially a 2-3 match-up zone for large portions of the night. When Iowa State played man defense early, Allen made them pay for it. Prohm switched to a system that for all intents and purposes put a rover in the paint to double/deny the post entry pass regardless of which side of the court the ball was on. This was a significant cause for the slowdown in offense for Texas after the first ~10 minutes of the game. Allen still had a 17/9 on the night, and he could’ve had more if either of his mind-numbingly bad three-point shot decisions had gone in. Yes, decisions, as in he tried more than one three-pointer. He tried two. Back to back. It wasn’t his finest moment.
(but I bet the scouts saw them and drooled)
Yancy is in many ways a lost man on this team; he doesn’t do any one thing exceptionally well, and he has been passed on the roster by younger, more athletic guards. Add in the fact that this team’s minutes are apportioned in a way that it is definitely playing for next year and it would be easy for the senior guard to get dissuaded by the situation. Credit goes to Yancy for not being dissuaded, for continuing to give solid effort. Tonight it paid off; his first couple of minutes were a serious mixed bag (a silly turnover followed by causing a turnover on the other end), but he kept with it and provided meaningful minutes throughout the game. Credit also goes to Shaka Smart and crew for recognizing that Yancy was able to bother Deonte Burton just enough to keep him from going off like he did against Kansas a couple of days ago. Speaking of...
The Coaching Staff
It was a really interesting chess move by the coaching staff to put a smaller-but-strong-enough Yancy on Burton; Burton was starting to show signs of breaking out, and neither Allen (for strength reasons) or Cleare (for speed reasons) were able to deal with Burton. Yancy, who is 40 lb lighter than Burton, was able to keep up with Deonte and deny him the ball more often than not. Burton is the biggest mismatch on Iowa State’s roster, so Yancy’s ability to bother Burton was an impressive move by the Texas coaching staff. Burton still had 6(?!) steals, but I’ll take him being other-worldly in that stat over the offensive stats he put up in the Kansas win.
I just want it noted for the record that he hit a three. In a game. For Texas. Now all he needs is ~89 more in the last seven games and he’ll be where I thought he might be at the end of this season. It could happen.
I’m really glad he’s a senior with no chance at a redshirt.
Texas rebounded nearly 85% of their misses and over 31% of Iowa State’s misses. Even with Iowa State trying to get back on defense rather than crash the glass, those numbers are awesome. Texas was more interested in rebounds on both ends of the floor than Iowa State, and it was nice to see.
The Mixed Bag
Jones had a poor shooting night. I could put a caveat in here that the degree of difficulty on his shots was extremely high, but that was mostly an issue of his own creation. Jones was consistently trying to get to the rim, but his decision-making on when he went to the rim was uneven. Some of those shots will fall next year, which will make them seem less ill-advised to the casual fan, but they’re really not. It’s a fine line between aggressive and too aggressive, and Jones was on the wrong side of that line on many of his shots. To his credit, he still had seven assists (his fourth?! 7+ assist game in a row) and went 5-6 from the free throw line tonight. Even when he’s not making great decisions in one area, he’s still contributing in others.
Kerwin Roach Jr
Roach still isn’t connecting on his drives to the rim, but his decisions on when he went towards the rim were on the whole better than they have been. More to the point, his layup attempts looked less like pure attempts at drawing fouls and more attempts at scoring in the paint. They didn’t fall very much tonight, but if he stays on the right side of that line they will eventually. His free throw shooting is still a work in progress, he needs to hit more than 50% from the line if he wants to try drawing contact in the lane. On the plus side, he was really engaged on the defensive end. Monte Morris is a hard man to guard, and Roach gave his all on that end. I saw a number of instances when Roach was doing more than relying on pure athletic ability, instead anticipating passes and transition opportunities to aid in converting defense to offense. If he can stay that locked in on the defensive end, he’ll be worth his minutes even if he doesn’t do much on offense.
Non-Andrew-Jones Free Throws
Andrew Jones was 5-6, the rest of the team was 11-21 (52.4%). The misses were spread all over the team, too. Davis was 1-2, Allen was 3-5, Cleare was 2-5, Roach was 3-6, Young was 1-2. It was not a good night from the charity stripe.
Texas gets a few days off before they head to Stillwater on Saturday to face an Oklahoma State squad that has won five straight, including a win in Morgantown. Texas has yet to win a road game, and given Texas has already beaten the Cowboys once this season they’re likely to be primed to take on the Longhorns. Texas needs to win a road game at some point this season, and it would be nice to see the Longhorns put together a conference winning streak longer than....one. Tip is 3 PM CT on ESPN2.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by Rydel.