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Shooting From the Corner: Texas 67, UAB 57

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UAB v Texas Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images

It was a nice change of pace having Texas keep a mid-major at bay for the majority of a game. For the past couple of seasons, the Longhorns instead will escort them to the theater, hand them a bag of popcorn and a soda before the movie begins, then rub their pants 95% of the way to climax before walking out of the theater with the W. Texas is giving other teams victory blue balls and it drives me nearly as crazy as it does the McNeese State Cowboys, storming out of Fate of the Furious with their ill-fitting trousers and loading Reddit incel forums on their iPhone 6s. So yea, glad it wasn’t that tonight.

The Good

Andrew Jones

Jones is up to 37% three-point shooting on the season (hooray, small sample sizes!) thanks to a 6-8 from three night. His threes were mostly spot-up shots, not off the bounce or forced in suboptimal decision-making. Jones was one of the main offensive engines on the evening, he had an answer for nearly every big shot the UAB Blazers hit. There were a couple of turnovers and he still cheats off his man way too much, but UAB couldn’t make him pay for that so it’s more of a “execute better next time” brief chat rather than a come to Jesus meeting. His drives into the paint were a bit uneven, but he exhibited better patience in the paint tonight than I’ve seen in a lot of games thus far. Good night for AJ1.

Courtney Ramey

Ramey has had two good games in a row and I’m hopeful this is a sign he’s coming on. It’s good he was playing better as Matt Coleman had a relatively quiet night. 3-6 from three, 2-2 from the line, five rebounds, and pretty solid defense from the sophomore tonight. He’s still a bit up and down, but there was one sequence that showed him keeping his head in the game. Ramey took a bad three at 24-15, and instead of pouting he stayed in the play and on the very next possession he made the right call passing up a contested three for a skip pass to Coleman which resulted in an open three and a 27-15 lead. He could’ve sulked and let things snowball, but he kept playing and made a positive contribution. It’s little things like that which will show up as positives in the film room.

Free Throws

8-11 (73%) is solid, especially when over half of them come from your big. Jericho Sims went 4-6 and is light years ahead of the 43% he shot from the line his freshman year.

Matt Coleman Phantom High-Fives

I enjoy Matt Coleman going in for high/low-fives after made free throws when he has zero teammates around him more than I can possibly explain. I want him shooting all technical foul free throws for exactly this reason. I mean, it helps that he’s the best free throw shooter on the team, but mostly it’s for the phantom fives.

It’s Complicated

Kai Jones

I don’t know how to put this gently: Kai Jones is a terrible defender. He’s decent on the ball in a 1-on-1 capacity, but he’s a disaster off the ball. He’s going for steals he has no business chasing which leads the rest of the team to have to cover for him being 8 feet behind the play. He plays with his shoulders parallel to the sidelines entirely too much for a guy who is probably supposed to be trapping a guard or denying a lane to the basket. The three blocks were nice, but two of them happened because he had to recover after letting his man blow straight past him. Maybe don’t let him by in the first place? Jones has a ton of potential and he’s definitely giving a lot of energy, but a significant chunk of the defensive issues had to do with him freelancing all over the court in a system where individual execution is paramount.

The Bad

Gerald Liddell

Liddell isn’t doing a lot well right now and I’m not sure what the fix is. His numbers through 8 games aren’t great and it’s not like he has a single superlative skill that’s buoying the squad. He played well against Purdue and since then it’s been kinda rough in every respect. His post-up defensive numbers are solid...and that’s about it. Kai Jones & Andrew Jones getting more minutes is in part the staff tinkering with other people who might help fill the gap.

Press Defense

The numbers haven’t updated to included the UAB game, but Synergy has Texas’ press defense ranked in the bottom 10% nationally. There are a couple of reasons for this, but one of the main ones has to do with a person I’ve mentioned previously who is at the head of the diamond press. I won’t tell you who it is, but I will say his name rhymes with Fly Moans and while you were reading this sentence he let three different guards blow past him. I hope they don’t have to come to depend on this defense much, because early returns have not been good.

Rebounding

UAB came into the game as one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country and they left Austin as still one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. Texas gives up a lot of offensive rebounds so I probably should’ve expected the 11-4 OR disparity, but it still sucks to see. UAB rebounded 34% of their OR opportunities, Texas needs to improve upon this number if they have higher aspirations on the season.

Kamaka Hepa’s Chest Cavity

A UAB player threw an elbow so hard into Hepa’s chest that the sun came up in Barrow, Alaska for an hour. No foul was called, I can only assume because people were trying to figure out who in the mezzanine shot a hyena in the face. I think that guy gave Hepa asthma for life.

Longhorn Network

Good job on LHN advertising the Moody Center groundbreaking which already happened before the game. Way to keep the information relevant. Also, Lance Blanks called Kai Jones shooting a three “warranted because he’s been controlling the game” and made sure to point out that “these are critical minutes” for the 84th game in a row, this time when there were roughly 35 minutes of game left to be played.

Texas is 7-1 on the season, and next up is Texas A&M which was a more attractive match-up when the Aggies didn’t look like they were falling apart. The Aggies are 3-4, have lost four of their last five and their last three in a row. They’ll be looking to turn their season around against Texas and they have a whole week to prepare, so expect a game effort from Buzz Williams’ squad. The game is at Dickie’s Arena in Fort Worth on Sunday (I imagine tickets are still plentiful), tip time is 2 PM CT on ABC.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by Drumcomplex.