Something something road game something something loss. Texas is making its own unique sort of history this season.
#Longhorns secure at least two things tonight: worst ever Big 12 record; first time since 1983 they don't win a true road game all season— Mark Rosner (@MarkRosner3) March 2, 2017
Also, they wore the black uniforms, because why only make one poor decision at a time? Might as well go all-in.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Texas was undone by inopportune scoring droughts. It took them 2:06 to score their first bucket; as the game progressed, they had scoring droughts of 2:29, 2:53, 2:39, 3:22, 2:27, and 4:01. That’s 17:51 out of a 40-minute game where they weren’t scoring; in my advanced understanding of basketball, it’s usually not good to have scoring droughts that take up nearly 45% of the clock. I could be wrong, but usually not scoring is a bad thing.
I have spent nearly an entire season kicking Jacob Young in the taint for playing like a freshman, so it’s only fair I give him credit for his best game of his young (/rimshot) career. Young was pressed into extended duty due to Kerwin Roach Jr’s foul trouble, and he had more good moments than bad overall. He ended the night with 14 points on 5-12 shooting, including 4-9 from three. His few possessions at point were alright, mostly forgettable. Honestly, mostly forgettable is a notable improvement for this team. Maybe let him handle the ball some against Baylor hahahaha OK let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The season may be effectively over, but I don’t want to watch the team light itself on fire.
There’s nothing wrong with a hammer. When you have nails that need nailing or a feral squirrel that needs bludgeoning, a hammer’s perfectly serviceable. You can’t screw anything in with a hammer — though sometimes it’s cathartic to try — but as long as you don’t ask the hammer to try something it isn’t built for then it can be a worthwhile tool. Shaquille Cleare is a hammer, and in his way he has been useful this season. In a toolbox surrounded by bent screwdrivers and laser-guided missiles missing their CPU chips, we might should take a moment to appreciate that Cleare has been a largely positive force for this team. 15 points on 7-8 shooting with three rebounds (all defensive) is a very Cleare-ian stat line, and would be welcome on a lot of teams.
Allen ended up with yet another double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) thanks to a last-second dunk, but his relative lack of productivity is mostly a consequence of guards who sloughed off all of the progress they made over the season on post-entry passes like a molting snake. Sure, Texas Tech made it a priority to keep Allen unavailable, but he was still open more than he was getting the ball. We will get the chance to see Allen play with a real point guard next year, and I sincerely hope it’s in Austin and not Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Sometimes, a senior player just understands things better than a younger player. Yancy took nearly all of Eric Davis Jr.’s second-half minutes for good reason, he was playing better. Yancy had a better handle on how to navigate the lane, when to make the easy pass, and (mostly) when to take the shot. Kudos to Yancy for playing one of his final Texas games like it’s one of his final Texas games; this is the Yancy I had hoped to see more of over the past two years, but it hadn’t happened for a variety of reasons. It’s in a losing effort, but hopefully some of his savvy will rub off on the younger players because the guards need that kind of awareness in the lane. Yancy wasn’t telegraphing his drives the way Roach & Andrew Jones were and it showed in the lack of infuriating offensive fouls. He had five assists and zero turnovers. Marinate on that sentence for a moment, maybe consider if you’ve heard it about any other Texas guards of late.
The Mixed Bag
Texas had 9 turnovers on the night, only 14.5% of their possessions ended with a turnover. This is good news, no? Welllll, 6 of them came from freshman & sophomore Texas guards that are likely to be back next season. This off-season needs to involve a lot of time in the film room, drilling these guys on their decision-making in the lane; and, more to the point, before they get to the lane. Roach needs to learn that he can’t take a straight line from half-court when the defense is set, no matter how fast he is. Jones needs to learn that he has to make up his mind somewhere before both of his feet are in the paint. These are fixable issues, hopefully an off-season with the coaching staff will improve their situational awareness.
Eric Davis Jr.
Davis was giving max effort early on, but his shot wasn’t falling and he compounded it by questionable drives into the lane. It’s one thing if you’re missing open threes, sometimes that happens. Davis was missing open threes, contested threes, contested layups, I think he missed the garbage can with his gatorade cup in the locker room at halftime. It was a night to forget for the Michiganite...Michiganian...Michigander....the Yankee.
Even on a bad night, Jones still racked up six assists. It’s these little pieces of data that make me crazy because I see what he could be if he made a handful of better choices. Cut out the silly charges and take a better angle on a couple of his drives and suddenly we’re talking about a 8 point, 6 assist night with an ATO closer to 2:1. It’s not that far-fetched, he’s done it before. Even when his three isn’t falling, he can still contribute in a number of ways. It just wasn’t happening tonight; do you know how badly you have to perform to have six assists and still end up with an Ortg of 49? Well, yea, if you watched tonight then you do. So, uh, I guess we’ll just move on then.
Everybody Other Than Young From 3
Young was 4-9 from three, the rest of the team was 1-13.
Free Throw Shooting
I can’t even get upset about 6-12 free throw shooting because they would’ve lost the game regardless, but it still sucks. On a team with no margin for error, it’s another in the many ways in which they could seal a loss.
Texas closes out the regular season Saturday playing the Baylor Bears at home. Since it’s at home and Senior Night for Yancy, Mareik Isom, and Cleare, maybe they do something special. I’m not holding my breath, but I will be holding a large drink. The tip is at 3 PM CT on ESPN.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by Katalyst.