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Shooting From the Corner: Texas Tech 73, Texas 71 OT

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NCAA Basketball: Texas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was a dick punch.

The Texas Longhorns almost overcame a top-ten team, a hostile crowd, injuries to Mohamed Bamba and Dylan Osetkowski, the loss of their starting point guard to fouls, an all-time free-throw display by one player, and one of the worst officiating “jobs” I’ve seen in a long time to beat Texas Tech. Almost. Alas, Keenan Evans won the game for Tech on a buzzer-beating long two in overtime, avoiding a second overtime where a Tech player might have finally joined the three Texas players on the bench with five fouls. (I might mention the officiating once or twice in this recap.) Texas misses out on another chance for a statement win by the slimmest of margins, albeit under significantly different circumstances than the Duke or Gonzaga losses. This one is going to sting if Texas misses the NCAA tournament, because beating Tech in Lubbock probably puts Texas firmly into the tourney. That seems a bit high-level right now, like the same kind of high-level where you remember Michael Jordan pushing off on a Utah Jazz player to hit a shot that won a NBA title. Not that I’m reminded of that play for any particular reason right now. Nope, totally random.

The Good

Defensive Adjustments

Jarrett Culver made a layup for Tech to go up 51-38 with 13:10 left in the game. From that point, Texas outscored Tech 17-4 thanks to suffocating defense by the Longhorns. Keenan Evans — the guy who won the game for Tech basically single-handed — went 17:12 without hitting a shot from the floor because Texas bottled him up. Texas stopped switching as much on him, keeping Evans from getting matched up on a big he could blow past. If it weren’t for free throws, Evans would have been held scoreless for an 18-minute stretch including overtime. Credit to Evans for finding ways — well, way — to score despite Texas shutting him down for prolonged periods; Texas made adjustments to get their bigs out of a bad situation. It’s one of the reasons Texas was even in this game late.

Kerwin Roach II

Roach was 4-10 from three, played great defense, and scored all 7 points for Texas in OT. He was one Keenan Evans jumper away from forcing double overtime by himself, and Evans only hit that jumper because ffffffffffuuu hang onto that one, it’s coming later. There are at least three guys on the Texas squad who need to buy Snoop’s lunch this week.

The Mixed Bag

Eric Davis Jr.

I don’t think the LeBron Super Saiyan GIF is applicable for him any more. Davis drags his enormous balls onto the court, snorts some sort of experimental amphetamine only available through Tom Brady’s trainer, and proceeds to give 150% at everything even whether the situation calls for it or not. He’s a chaos agent; some games for the better, some for the worse, sometimes both in a single game. To wit:

That sequence is amazing in so many ways. He drives the ball, gets stripped because his handle is looser than Scipio Tex at an anything-goes vinyasa studio, steals the ball back, and drives wildly at two guys who aren’t moving for an offensive foul so easy to see happening that even this ratfuck refereeing crew got it right. This is art, but not a sterile, abstract exhibit in a museum curated by Highland Park soccer moms; this is Basketball Banksy on day four of a bath salt bender.

But here’s the thing: Texas doesn’t get to OT without Davis hoisting threes with the force of his 48-lb scrotum. He scored 7 of the points in the 17-4 run I mentioned earlier. So with this wild give & take, the unpredictable nature of his contributions, this is my new Eric Davis Jr GIF of choice:

The Bad

Free Throws

Texas left 13 points on the line tonight, only hitting 13-26 from the line. The three Matt Coleman misses late in regulation were particularly terrible. The reason this isn’t a bigger issue than it would have otherwise been? Tech was abysmal from the line as well; the players in this game not named Keenan Evans combined to go 19-43 (44.18%) from the line tonight, thanks in part to the non-Evans Tech players hitting 6 of 17 (35.29%) free throws. Basically everybody other than Evans needs to take a lap. Just an awful night all around from the line.

Texas plays their next game against Oklahoma on Saturday, where they get to see another team powered by a really talented guard. Tip is 5:15 PM CT on ESPN, and it should be a good one.

What?

Were you expecting something else?

I think I covered everything. I hit on the free throws, the missed opportunities, Roach, even worked up some humor for Davis. That should be everything. Ohhhhhh, right. Mo Bamba set the single-season record for blocks tonight.

Alright, goodnight everybody.

THE BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD

This Refereeing Crew

I am generally reticent to blame refs for the outcome of games; they have a hard job and they’re basically part-time workers. The NCAA and the conferences are too cheap to hire full-time crews — as you can imagine, the profit margin on a sport based on unpaid labor is tiny — and train them to the level of anything even remotely resembling NBA refereeing crews. This sport is setting their officials for failure, and in some ways it’s remarkable the job many of them (not you, Higgins) do despite having dick all help from the conferences.

Having said that, fuck these refs in particular. I can not believe the level of incompetence I saw displayed tonight. I mean, holy shit, man. They started early by missing Mo Bamba’s giant clown shoe pivot foot drag a couple feet and it got worse from there. When you thought they reached their nadir, they used that nadir as a pickaxe to dig further into the Earth’s crust to uncover a whole new nadir. James Cameron has yet to build a submarine capable of finding this crew’s lowest point. I’m not claiming they were biased in any direction except towards sheer inadequacy because they were rat-fucking calls in every which direction. Texas probably got the worst of it — on account of Matt Coleman, Mo Bamba, and Jase Febres all fouling out while zero Tech players used their five fouls — but nobody left that game happy about the officials. There were 49 fouls called in regulation and yet somehow they missed 10. The final foul on Bamba was called because Evans threw his shoulder into Bamba’s chest as Bamba fell backwards. Coleman’s third foul was called because his face had the gall to be in the way of an opponent’s elbow. Oh, and that Evans game-winner? He pushed off Roach before rising up to shoot. There were so many awful calls in this game that even the announcers were befuddled. I’m sure our compatriots at Viva the Matadors can come up with a list of a dozen calls they hated and it wouldn’t even scratch what I’ve mentioned. This crew needs to be strapped down Clockwork Orange-style and be forced to watch this game on repeat until they learn what constitutes a block, a charge, carrying the basketball, traveling, where their shoes are, if they zipped their pants this morning, how to eat applesauce with something other than a straw, all while forcing them move to Arlington, too. It was a uniquely terrible display and they deserve a uniquely terrible punishment for making us all experience that atrocity. Somebody needs to get their front lawn pooped on over this by a rabid raccoon, like the kind of foul excretion that makes the feral animal walk with a limp for a day and a half, an explosive fire hose of feces that you still smell a week later even after you’ve burned through a 50-lb bag of sawdust and lit a mega-can Febreeze on fire in hopes it will combust into a fireball of odor-destroyer for a moment of relief. That kind of poop.

So, yea, Oklahoma on Saturday. Let’s hope it’s their turn for the patented Big 12 ref dick punch.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by Soonie.