Game thoughts: Texas Tech rematch

Kendal Yancy (Will Gallagher/IT)

Kendal Yancy (Will Gallagher/IT)

FREE premium access for a month then discounted access for the Horns’ entire 2017 football season! Register at http://bit.ly/SpringFBpromo

Texas – 57
Texas Tech – 67
ESPN Box Score

Overall Game Thoughts

A poised and aggressive Texas Tech team had little trouble keeping the Longhorns at bay as they sent UT home without any chance at earning a road win during this 2016-17 season.

Offense:

Five months ago, the impression was that Texas would hitch their wagons to the young but capable hands of Kerwin Roach, Eric Davis and Andrew Jones.

Today, those same three players combined for 11 points on 18 shots. They also totaled 6 turnovers.

Their struggles in November and December were seemingly indicative of a group of players who needed to get their feet wet as playmaking leaders of the team.

Today, it is those same players that have the most questions to answer when it comes to what level of play they can bring Texas next season when their coach will likely be in a make or break year at the helm of this program.

Indeed, while Kerwin, Eric and Andrew were busy going 3-18 from the field, the rest of the Longhorns shot a sizzling 20-36.

Tech, to their credit, helped and overplayed post entries the entire night (particularly to Allen). The Longhorns, instead, were forced to play for dribble penetration into rim protection and Texas struggled to convert in the lane on some makeable looks.

Then, when Texas did get the kind of ball movement that could create some open perimeter looks, they shot 5-22 from beyond the arc (and that’s including Jacob Young quadrupling his season three point percentage – I’m only kind of joking – after making 4-9 shots from deep).

Davis’ psyche is shot. Roach and Jones simply aren’t very good point guards. And the rest of the team is filled with dependent players who range from fine to awesome, but that’s not what college basketball is about.

It’s about guards taking over and executing their team to victory.

Not for Texas. Not today. Not this season.

Defense:

I thought Texas defended pretty well, all things considered. They got caught in some frustrating foul trouble in the first half, which sent the Red Raiders to the line a few too many times, but their three point defense was solid and they made Tech earn their open looks through staggered screens and on curls.

Yancy, in particular, was a gamer on the defensive end. He breaks on the ball well and is Texas’ most physical player when combined with his explosiveness.

Jones, on the other hand, got abused tonight. Tech attacked Jones off the bounce and into the middle of the lane whenever they could and he was helpless to stop his man. His spatial awareness has been poor all year, but his ball defense over the last month has been taken advantage of by almost every team Texas has faced.

Jones is trying (and he’ll get better), but those straight line drives were too easy for a team that can defend like TTU does.

Good overall energy, but there’s plenty of cleaning things up that must happen over the summer.

Also, this was another game that makes me sad that 1) Isom is a senior; and 2) Isom missed so much earlier in the year. His movement and length in the zone is fun to watch.

A Look at the Numbers:

Texas Tech shot 48% (24-50) overall, 30.8% (4-13) from three and 78.9% (15-19) from the line.

Texas shot 42.6% (23-54) overall, 22.7% (5-22) from three and 50% (6-12) from the line.

Tech outrebounded Texas (33-28), while UT had more assists (17-13) and Tech had one less turnover (8-9)

Star of the Game: Kendal Yancy

Allen, Cleare and Young all had notable evenings, but I feel the need to give Kendal a shout out.

Whether he’s underappreciated, underutilized, underaccomplished or whatever, I think Kendal’s potential is far greater than what he was able to achieve during his time at Texas.

I don’t blame him for that (well, yeah, I guess I kind of do). But I think there are some guys that have the kind of mindset that works at this level and some that don’t.

Kendal, far more often than not, has been on the latter side of that scale.

Tonight, though, Kendal was hardnosed, aggressive and energetic throughout. Even coming through with some terrific point guard play after Roach went out with his third foul midway through the first half.

Defensively, he was all over the place around the perimeter as well as showing good hustle and physicality against Tech’s bigger wings.

Nice game, Kendal (7 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, 0 turnovers).

We’re gonna miss you.

The Endgame:

Look, I’m comfortable walking the line where I believe Shaka’s going to turn this back around to the promise most Longhorn fans felt last season…but, there’s no avoiding that he has to answer for what has been a season that can only, really, be described as disastrous.

A Shaka Smart coached team went winless on the road for an entire schedule.

That’s tough to come to terms with when you consider that even the 16-18 season included five wins away from Austin and three true road wins.

Nothing else to say, this year has been terrible.

FREE premium access for a month then discounted access for the Horns’ entire 2017 football season! Register at http://bit.ly/SpringFBpromo