Basketball

Texas 76, Oklahoma State 64: Notes and thoughts from the win

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Texas went to Stillwater and beat a team they were expected to beat, and honestly, never were in any true peril of losing.

Five different players were in double figures as part of an important Big 12 win.

20:00-15:56 – Solid defensive effort and decent shot selection. A focus on getting Sims the ball early but he’s getting it closer to the elbow than anywhere near the low block. Still drained a floater from the stripe. Dribble penetration led to a Ramey make. Both teams guilty of traveling and carrying early. Texas not tested much on defense early. 5-2 Texas

15:56-12:15 – All three freshmen had savvy defensive plays. Kai Jones followed up his charge with excellent movement in the lane and a great block. OSU had their big man with an open look near the low block, and Donovan Williams rotated to the man. He stood vertical, forced a miss, eventually resulting in a Coleman three on the other end. Finally, Will Baker’s hedge on a screen put him in position to swipe at the ball. Coleman grabbed it, passed it to Andrew Jones, who emphatically slammed it before a Cowboys timeout. 15-4 Texas

12:15-7:41 – On-ball defense has been good for the most part. One lapse resulted in a made 3, but other Cowboy points resulted at the line after several poor fouls and poor defensive rebounding. More travel and carry calls than the typical college game. 9-3 Poke run only countered by a Ramey 3. 18-13 Texas

7:41-3:53 – How do they counteract another small lull after a hot start into the second TVTO? This has been an issue in conference play. Well, they gave up a 7-0 run to start out of the under-12, but then fought back with an 8-0 run. Coleman played with his hair on fire on both ends of the floor, netting a transition stop, a steal, and an assist to Hepa. Speaking of Hepa, the Alaskan played more smart defense. There was an excellent sequence where each player passed it around the perimeter for an open shot. They moved and skipped, but unfortunately even after an offensive rebound, they weren’t rewarded with a made bucket. Still, unselfish and beautiful basketball just missing the piece. Also, Kai Jones drained an open 3. 29-17 Texas

3:53-0:00 – There was the lull. It was coming. It always does. It finally showed up. Texas enters halftime with a 31-25 lead, but just two points in the last four minutes, both from the free throw line? Not good basketball. Kai Jones was dunked on, and that energized the Cowboys. OSU’s Harris created separation in isolation and nailed a floater. Febres missed a 3 on a play designed for him with under a minute left, Harris responded in transition with another 3, and the crowd finally got up. 8-2 run over the final four minutes. What was a first half performance Texas could be pleased with ended with a downtick all too reminiscent of other halves this season. 31-25 Texas

SECOND HALF

20:00-15:12 – Sims and Coleman off the floor with 17:07 and a four point lead. Sims off for 3 fouls, Coleman off for rest. Kai Jones comes up with a big defensive stop, but can’t get a bucket on the other end. He did it again, and it led to a Febres dunk. Then, Texas started to hit their three point shots with a make from Andrew Jones and a make from Hepa. The lead was down to four at one point, but Texas got hot with their two cornerstones on the bench. How will they handle the success of a 14 point lead with 15 minutes left? 43-29 Texas

15:12-11:53 – Good Febres is here. Kai Jones has five blocks. Neill Berry wandered ever so slightly onto the floor and was warned. He did it again the next possession and was given a technical. So far, they’ve done a decent job of handling the success of the first few minutes of the half, especially Febres. He’s having one of his best performances of the season. At some point, Shaka will have to decide when Sims goes back into the game. Texas still has to bring it home. 51-39 Texas

11:53-8:00 – Oklahoma State cuts the lead down to eight after a Coleman turnover and a putback, and Shaka uses a timeout. Not too much immediate effect, as a momentum offering alley-oop results a few possessions later to cap a 12-1 Cowboy run. However, Hepa and Ramey hit threes late in the sequence, making the lead 9. Decent handling of the surge by Texas, but still lost a few points from their lead. 57-48 Texas

8:00-3:17 – There was some poor basketball, including right off the top. Jericho Sims was assessed his fourth foul without the ball even in play. To make up for it, he decided to obliterate the rim with a dunk on the next offensive possession. The Cowboys remained with the Longhorns though, cutting the lead down to 7. Texas’ small lineup (A. Jones, Hepa, Ramey, Coleman, Febres) found their shot, or in Hepa’s case, he kept utilizing his. 15 points on 6/10 shooting, one of five Longhorns in double figures so far.

Team really was able to 1) go small without Sims and 2) rally on offense without their best post presence, rather, any post presence.

Three minutes left and a 12 point lead. If they can continue to play good defense, including on guard post-ups, and defend against the Boone twins, the Longhorns could grab a win on the road. 67-55 Texas

3:17-0:00 – Once again, the leads fluctuated in the second half, but it never fully evaporated. OSU made it an eight point game at one point in the last three minutes, but Jericho Sims’ emphatic dunk started a segment that Texas would close strong. Andrew Jones hit his free throws, recorded a steal, and Ramey added a coup de gras three-pointer at the end to ice it.

Player of the game is Hepa, based on his work on both ends of the floor. He not only earned the start but in his 31 minutes put up a game-high 15 points. Coleman had 10, Ramey 14, Febres 15, and Andrew Jones 12.

Kai Jones received extended minutes because of some Sims foul trouble, and he was up more than he was down. His defense is demonstratively better, and he’s showing some Bamba-like blocking ability on defense, he had 5 swats tonight.

Texas shot better by all three marks, but still allowed too many offensive rebounds (13) and second chance points (17). 76-64 Texas