Basketball

Game Thoughts: UT 67, ISU 65

Jarrett Allen with the flush versus Iowa State. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Jarrett Allen with the flush versus Iowa State. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Texas – 67
Iowa State – 65
ESPN Box Score

Overall Game Thoughts

A big, early Texas lead was short lived as a veteran, savvy Iowa State squad turned a 17 point deficit into a tie game late in the contest.

Not unexpected, but still a tall task for this young Longhorn team to pull out a win against these senior-heavy Cyclones.

But a task Texas was up to.

Annnnnndddd, we’ll take it.

Offense:

The inside-outside dichotomy of this game was as pronounced as just about any you’ll find from Texas over the years.

Texas was dominant in the paint, scoring over half their points (36) after lane touches with Yancy, Cleare and Allen being the main beneficiaries of Iowa State’s weak interior defense.

It was just as obvious that Texas wanted to hammer that advantage as often as possible, which is what led the Longhorns to their big lead in the first place.

Then, whether through fatigue, poor decision making, better defense or some combination of the three, the Longhorns found themselves in love with over-dribbling around the perimeter.

Kerwin’s consistency floundered. Jones’ vision and decision making had its lapses. Davis and Yancy couldn’t pull the trigger on post entries.
It just wasn’t there.

So, the Longhorns tried to build from the outside in (and missed 11 three pointers – 6 wide open, by my count – in the process).

Want to see another tangible example of Texas’ perimeter players struggling without a playmaking point guard?

Watch how quickly Texas’ guards rush their three point shots.

They don’t expect to have somebody penetrate them open. They don’t expect to be found in space. They don’t expect to have the ball hit them in the hands in rhythm.

So, even when it does, it’s almost a strange sensation for them.

Now, when half of your threes should be attempted in rhythm and they aren’t met with that same mindset, whose fault is that, really?

But it almost cost Texas the game…almost.

Defense:

I love simple, solid defenses.

If a team is going to beat you on shots with a hand in their face, so be it.

Such was Texas’ mindset today.

UT’s defenders fought through screens. Played tight on shooters. Rebounded with tenacity. Chased after loose balls. Moved with spatial awareness.

And Iowa State struggled to take advantage in one-on-one situations, even when they had a quickness/playmaking advantage.

Thomas got hot shooting the ball, because he’s capable of that and lost Eric a few times off screens/weakside movement.

Okay.

Kendall Yancy. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Kendall Yancy. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Burton hit a couple of quick trigger threes, because he’s capable of that.

But Morris was kept in check. ISU’s bench was largely ineffective.

And, again, Texas’ length and explosiveness from Yancy, Roach and Jones kept ISU from getting too much open space in their half court looks.

Nice game plan and execution from Shaka’s team.

A Look at the Numbers:

Iowa State shot 41.1% (23-46) overall, 36% (9-25) from three and 76.9% (10-13) from the line.

Texas shot 43.6% (24-55) overall, 21.4% (3-14) from three and 59.3% (16-27) from the line.

Texas won the rebounding battle (39-31) while ISU had more assists (12-10) and fewer turnovers (11-13).

Star of the Game: Jarrett Allen

This dude just keeps on checking boxes.

Cut down on the turnovers? Check. Become more aggressive in the midrange? Check. Assert himself on the glass? Check.

But hit two big free throws to win the game?

For a guy that started the season 17-45 from the foul line?

Awesome. Awesome.

That he went for 17 points, 9 rebounds and 1 block and we’ll call it a “nice game” from Jarrett speaks to this kid and what he’s meant to Texas this year.

The Endgame:

Texas has a decent chance of being tied for 7th place in the Big 12 tomorrow at this time.

With three winnable games on the horizon.

And, if I’m going to preach not being pissed off at the losses, it’s only fair that not get overly excited about the wins. So, I won’t.

Because this season doesn’t matter.

But Texas just out executed a team that won on the road at Kansas in their previous game.

That’s got to count for something, nontransitive as it may be. Still, we know that Texas can win at home. It’s the road they’ve got to figure out. Here’s to making strides on Saturday in Stillwater.

Nice job, boys. Nice job.