Texas took care of business at home in conference. That’s a must a this point. Here’s five thoughts on the performance.
1. Angry Bamba
24 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, two steals. That is the lottery pick Mohamed Bamba. When he wants the ball and plays with an “I am the best player on the floor” aggressiveness like he should in most games, it is when Texas is at its best. About midway through the first half, Bamba showed he was the best player on the floor. He had a massive dunk, a big hustle rebound, and an important block to keep Texas in control. The three pointers may not be what most want to see out of Bamba, but he rarely, rarely takes covered threes. For the most part, they are open jumpers at the top of the key after Matt Coleman or Kerwin Roach drove into the help defense off the screen, freeing Mo. They’re good shots, and Texas doesn’t want Mo taking more than half a handful. He hit them tonight, missing just two shots on the evening on 9-for-11 shooting.
2. Sharpshooter Roach
Kerwin came out of the gate extremely hot, burying three straight attempts from behind the arc to start Texas solid offensive night. He was 8-of-15 on the night, including 4-of-5 from three. He’s been the surprising offensive spark plug that Texas has needed from its backcourt since he returned following Jones departure. His shot looks good, and he continued to contribute on the defensive end.
3. The team needs rest
Playing a game in this conference just two days after battling and succumbing to a tough WVU team is a challenge, but it was one they were up for tonight. Endurance has not seemed to be a problem en masse, but the short rotation Shaka Smart has used could only be used for so long. Ten players saw the floor tonight, but five players saw 30 or more minutes of action. Royce Hamm and Jacob Young provided high energy, but that’s about it. Luckily for the team, it now has four days in between its next game against Ole Miss. I think Dylan Osetkowski will benefit from the rest the most.
4. There’s still some bad dry spells
Texas went through extended scoreless streaks again tonight, including struggling to score during the closing portions of the game. ISU made the decision to begin to front the Texas big men, and without a consistent entry pass, the offense sputtered. With the big man talent Smart has this year, he has made a point to work the ball from the inside to the outside in the offense. When the ball can’t get inside, it just pointlessly moves around the outside until a guard is forced to take a tough shot. Angry Bamba helped with that tonight, but Osetkowski and Jericho Sims need to be able to create targets for guards in order to get the offense going.
5. The segment count
Texas won six, ISU won four, and one was tied. That’s kind of how the game felt the whole time. This was a good win that Texas needed to have, but it’s not one worth doing a bunch of cartwheels over. Texas should have won this game and did. I will credit a lot of tough thirty second defense, as the Longhorns have done often this year. However, the tough thirty second defense needs to be followed up with aggressive rebounding, and too often the ball found the floor before finding hands. Despite getting outscored by 16, Iowa State only lost the rebounding margin by one and even out-rebounded the Horns in the second half. Texas’ better shooting night, tough defense, and success at the line helped seal this one, and it’s time to rest up before the Big 12/SEC challenge on Saturday.