I could start this recap by talking about how this went better than expected and that all you really want is to have a chance in the last possession against Kansas in Lawrence and all of that is definitely true and I still want to open a window and scream into the void because it was right there for the taking. Texas did 95% of what they needed to do to win, but it didn’t happen because REASONS. Let’s just get into it.
Coleman is back, baby. 16 points, 8 assists and zero turnovers, driving the ball with authority, making good decisions with the basketball in his hands. You know who has more assists in conference play than Matt Coleman? Nobody.
Febres started slow but ended white-hot, hitting 4-10 from three with an 11th that didn’t work because REASONS. His defense was solid, his shot came around in the second half, and he’s turning into the plus shooter he was recruited to be. I have a hunch that a season from now, he’ll also be a decent secondary ball-handler.
J’Covan vibes from this guy, I swear. He has no fear, he has that same edge, and he drilled a huge three that made the last possession even possible. That possession didn’t work out because REASONS, but when you have a freshman guard give you 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and zero turnovers against the class of the Big 12, that’s a good day. I’m really looking forward to junior Coleman and sophomore Ramey in the same backcourt next year.
Texas put up a 38-31 edge on the boards and a 14-6 edge on the offensive glass against a team with superior bigs depth, and it was a team effort. Dylan Osetkowski led the team (again) in rebounding, but Jericho Sims and Courtney Ramey snagged 7 and 6 rebounds, respectively. Some of this is a consequence of Jaxson Hayes being in foul trouble, but the effort on the glass was great.
Free Throw Shooting
Texas took 14 less free throws than Kansas but only made 4 less, thanks to the Longhorns going 7-7 from the line on the night. Side note: tonight’s offensive performance was good enough that Texas is now in the top-50 nationally in offensive efficiency.
Sims grabbed 7 rebounds in 12 minutes of action, which is progress. Baby steps back to usefulness, young man.
Holly Rowe’s Fitbit Stats
If you weren’t watching then you missed what I can only describe as the fastest walking tour of Phog ever presented. Holly Rowe would come out of timeouts showing some of the history in the Phog, and more often than not while she was explaining the historical artifact she would break out into a sprint back to the game as a way to show people just how close this random piece of history was to the actual court. It looked like basketball trivia in the Cloverfield movie and it was hilarious. I don’t know why ESPN decided to run Holly Rowe through a bootcamp workout out of every timeout, but she’s earned her post-game meal more than some of the players.
Kerwin Roach II
Hello, REASONS. Roach is a complicated topic, because he has all the athletic ability in the world and he excels in transition and at getting to the rim. There are times when he is uniquely suited to make the play Texas needs; the problem is that there are times when he makes decisions that kill whatever Shaka Smart drew up. The last possession of the Oklahoma State game is one example, but tonight was an even more egregious one. Let’s discuss this play:
You tell me what Roach is doing here. This looks like a pick & pop between Coleman and Febres and Snoop not only ends up BEHIND Coleman, he drags his defender with him who is the one who contests Febres' shot. pic.twitter.com/ASw0cKIKGU— (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ 750 (@Bitterwhiteguy) January 15, 2019
That’s a pretty clear pick & pop two-man game between Coleman and Febres. The idea here is Coleman is supposed to use the Febres screen and either dive to the rim or toss it back out to Febres depending on what the defenders do. Roach is supposed to set a screen and leak to the corner, but he didn’t do that. It would be one thing if he just stopped in his tracks, but he compounded the problem by running towards Coleman which dragged his defender TOWARDS THE PLAY. You know who contested Febres’ three? Roach’s defender, Febres’ defender was four feet from Jase. It was a good play call, a reasonable design involving the two players playing the best on that night. Roach submarined the whole thing. And while it’s nice that Roach owned up to his mistake, at some point you have to stop making the mistakes in the first place. You’re a senior, man.
This is what happens when an athletic, wiry young man comes up against a grown-ass man with a low post game. Lawson didn’t get up a ton of shots (the Texas defense was obviously keying on him) but he put Hayes in foul trouble all night long. These are the growing pains he’ll face in the NBA which is why he should definitely come back for another year no I’m not tweeting this at him but if he happens to read it on here oh well accidents happen.
These are the games where being a 5’10” guard with limited athleticism shows. If he’s not getting wide-open threes - and not airballing multiple attempts - then he’s not going to be a lot of use in these games. Kansas has the horses to contain him, and they did.
The Defense on Lagerald Vick
He got loose too often as Texas players were helping onto others or getting caught up in screens. Vick needs a sliver of daylight to get off his shot and Texas guards/wings weren’t sticking with him closely enough. It’s one thing if Marcus Garrett has a career night from three - he was 4-22 from deep on the season before hitting his first three threes in the game - you can live with that guy taking the shots if your goal is to limit Vick. They didn’t really do either tonight.
We’re in the sort of gray headspace where a loss against Kansas is actually a positive sign. If it tells you anything, after the loss Texas actually jumped three spots in Pomeroy to #29. It sucks that it means Texas has lost three straight, but it also shows that Texas has the capacity to hang with anyone. We’ll see if they can put that same sort of energy towards the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday, as the hated rivals come to Austin for the first time this season. Tip time is 7 PM CT on LHN.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by The Yellowheads.