This game was massive in many respects. First, the obvious, an emotional time in which a member of the team gets a heartbreaking diagnosis. As I’ve mentioned, Texas takes pride in how close-knit of a program it runs. If it wasn’t close already, it’s now tied tighter than a clove hitch. Texas rode the wave of emotion early, but as the game went on, it rode the wave of “hey, we can beat these guys.” Extra motivation aside, this team hung with and topped one of the teams near the top of the Big 12 after a 50 minute slugfest.
Second, it solidified what this team’s bread and butter can be; the pick, drive, and facilitation from there. It can be a lob to your lottery pick, or your tight end with wide receiver vertical, or your skilled all-around player. When the shots are falling for one player, and what a time for him to discover his shot, it keeps the defense honest. The Horns scored right around the season average of what the Frogs normally give up in regulation, but held TCU to 10 points less than their regulation average. Jaylen Fisher missing about a half of basketball helped with that, but it’s still good news going forward.
I’ll touch on a couple negatives, but they are easily remedied. 1) Mo Bamba needs to learn he’s going to get officiated differently. He will. I watched Yao Ming get officiated differently for years. It’s a fact he’s going to face this season. 2) Some of the defensive adjustments were a tad tardy, especially when a guy on the other team was 5-of-7 from three in the second half and 7-of-11 overall. Smart went to a 1-3-1 late in regulation, a defense Texas barely ran on the night. They were punished with a three. 3) I’m not sure why, especially when his only job can be rim protection, James Banks wasn’t in that game for the last shot.
All in all, Coleman took on an enormous playmaking load at the PG position and recorded a double-double because of it. Twelve assists, five turnovers. Some costly, but the numbers are okay. His playmaking opened the rim up for Jericho Sims and Bamba, and the perimeter for Davis.
Osetkowski, despite a slow start (2 points in the first half), lit it up and made pivotal free throws and the most pivotal three for the Longhorns on the evening.
20:00 – 15:05: You could tell during this segment just how emotionally charged the Longhorns were. They had something to play for, and they played like it. Texas started their big lineup, with Sims, DO, and Bamba in the front court, Febres and Coleman in the back court. It worked well. Six different players scored in the first segment, including a Sims oop to start his dunking evening. TCU struggled to hit any shots during this segment, and Jaylen Fisher’s two fouls hampered the TCU offense for most of the first half. He was explosive in the second half, and his absence in the first was obvious. Texas 18-8
15:05 – 11:35: Bamba was called for a touch foul on a block attempt, and when Texas has an elite rim protector (5 blocks), it’s imperative he stays in the game. There were points in this segment where Texas went to the 2-3 zone before TCU’s Kenrich Williams went on his torrid shooting streak. Bamba and the rest of the post defenders shut out Vlad Brodziansky, and forced Alex Robinson to produce. Normally an average shooter, Robinson was 4-of-6 and a way out-of-character 2-of-2 from three. At this point, it seemed Texas lost its emotional rush. They were finding good shots, they just weren’t making them. Texas 21-14 (TCU 6-3)
11:35-7:03: The Longhorns kept TCU from coming all the way back, but TCU kept within striking distance. Coleman really worked to get into the lane and produce from there, and there was no better example than when he drove the paint, went to the bucket, and found Bamba right in the hands. Bamba caught it and flushed it immediately. The negative of this segment was that Bamba picked up his second foul on a charge. With Bamba out, Sims held his own on post defense, keeping the segment even. Texas 28-22 (TCU 8-7)
7:03 -3:56: Defensive segment for both teams. TCU got a third-chance three-pointer to cut the lead down, but Coleman and Sims helped limp to four points over the three minute segment. Texas 32-28 (TCU 6-4)
3:56-0:00 – Sims began the segment by failing to complete an and-1, but then followed it up with a flush and a different, completed and-1. Then another flush by way of Coleman. This was the segment that Sims lived above the rim, got out and ran, and ran it past
TCU. At around the midpoint, Smart called a timeout to not only keep his team a little grounded, but to give them an extra breather going into the half. Texas played seven deep tonight without Jones and Roach (out indefinitely with an injured left hand), so the brief reprieve was a good coaching decision. Smart showed more solid coaching by taking the foul to give with 0.7 seconds left, keeping Texas’ double digit advantage heading into the half. Texas 43-33 (UT 11-5)
20:00 – 16:21: Texas came out with the same starting lineup, and continued to play well on offense and tough on defense. On Tuesday, Shaka Smart said at his press conference he needed Coleman to play with joy. “Because over the years when I’ve watched him play, when he’s playing with, that’s the best word I can use, with a joy and excitement out there he’s always been really good.” Coleman was joyous during this stretch, lobbing up several perfect oops to the bigs. He was smiling from ear-to-ear as Jamie Dixon was forced to call a timeout. Texas 51-38 (UT 8-5)
16:21 – 12:46: TCU began to heat up from behind the arc here, cutting the lead to 10. Then Texas missed its shots and Bamba picked up his third foul, which completely altered the game. Brodziansky was able to work on the smaller (though not by much) Texas bigs, and began his hot latter 30 minutes. Texas just couldn’t put the ball in the bucket, and a 10-3 segment put TCU to within two possessions. Texas 54-48 (TCU 10-3)
12:46 – 7:34: Lots of back and forth play in this segment, but Bamba picking up his fourth foul allowed the Frogs to start driving more and more, therefore dishing more and more. Sims was hit with a tick-tack foul where I’m not sure he even touched the shooter, and the ball didn’t lie. Texas switched into the 2-3 zone near the end of this segment, but Kenrich Williams continued to get hotter and hotter. This was one of the more aggressive segments of the entire game, and it showed in TCU having its highest scoring segment. Texas 63-61 (TCU 13-9)
7:34 – 3:27: Back-and-forth. Back-and-forth. Back-and-forth. This saw Bamba come in and play a very smart remainder of the half despite his four fouls. Texas started the pattern of grinding out buckets late in the shot clock without too much direction or secondary options on offense, but it kept working because Coleman could work his way through the defense with the dribble. An even segment in an even game. With under 3:30 left, the game set itself up to be a contest of who wanted it more and who could keep track of opposing players to prevent buckets. Texas 71-70 (UT 9-8).
3:27 – 0:00: Coleman began the segment going 1-of-2 at the line, part of an evening where the Longhorns shot an uncharacteristic 76 percent from the line. Take away Sims FT numbers, though Texas loses if that were to have happened, the Longhorns were 20-of-23 from the line. That’s a huge improvement over their season mark of 64 percent, and likely what helped them down the stretch. TCU called a timeout with 1:56 remaining trailing by one after Coleman hit an off-balance jumper from inside the arc. Then Davis hit a three, and it looked like Texas was going to win an emotional game. But Coleman was called for a reach-in, and Brodziansky hit both his free throws to cut the lead to two. Then, as Texas has been punished by multiple times this year, a true freshman made a true freshman mistake. Coleman dribbled the ball off his foot with 15 seconds left, and after a TCU timeout, the Frogs scored on an easy layup down the middle of the lane. Coleman’s responding heave didn’t go, and Texas returned to overtime. 77-77 (TCU 7-6)
5:00 – 0:00: Davis began the segment with a three, but on the next possession Coleman responded with a turnover. Bamba tried to protect the limb, but Brodziansky stayed hot and hit a lay-in to cut the lead to one. Texas couldn’t get a shot up before the thirty seconds ran out, and Williams hit yet another three to give TCU a 2 point lead. Osetkowski responded with one, and Williams responded with three. It looked like a pattern was about to emerge, but Osetkowski and Davis scored to keep Texas within one. With a chance to ice it, Bamba delivered his biggest block on the evening against TCU, and Texas took a timeout down one. The play setup found Osetkowski in the corner, and he hit it. It looked like Texas was going to win a huge emotional game, again, but TCU wanted five more minutes. TCU drove the ball toward Bamba, and he left Brodziansky open at the elbow. The penetrating TCU guard found Vlad, and he calmly hit the jumper at the buzzer. 2OT. 88-88 (11-11)
5:00 – 0:00: Bamba fouled out after both teams traded buckets. Bad news. Texas responded, though not without some Brodziansky buckets hit over the Longhorns’ defense. The game came down to TCU and Osetkowski trading buckets and free throws, and Osetkowski was money late. Texas fouled Jaylen Fisher, and he hit both of his free throws to give the Frogs a two point lead. Coleman responded with a lay-in with 38 seconds left, and TCU tried to set up a play late in the shot clock. TCU’s Desmond Bane missed a shot, and Sims collected the rebound and was fouled with five seconds left. Sims has struggled at the line all season, but hit the first one to give Texas a one point lead. TCU called timeout and set up a play to break the press. Fisher broke it, but missed the layup at the end, and Texas secured a needed emotional victory, one that boosted its resume and place in the conference standings. Texas 99-98 (UT 11-10)