Texas Basketball | Texas Longhorns: Rick Barnes and UT Basketball




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Randy Maltz is a die-hard sports fan, with passion for the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns. He is Founder & Editor of Silver and Blue Report and Hook 'em Report. He still idolizes Roger Staubach and Tom Landry.

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Brad’s Longhorns Corner
Texas Basketball | Texas Longhorns:  Rick Barnes and UT Basketball
By Brad Kellner – Columnist Silver and Blue Report & Hook ’em Report

Rick Barnes, Texas Longhorns, Longhorns, University of TexasIt was an up and down week for the Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team. If you don’t believe me, listen to this. In their two games over the past week, University of Texas led by as many as 29 points and trailed by as many as 26.

In a good news bad news week for Texas, the Longhorns gave burnt orange nation the bad news first.

The Horns took their seven-game winning streak to Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday and squared off against the Kansas State Wildcats. Texas knocked off KState by three in the first meeting of the season, thanks to a Jonathan Holmes game-winning triple as time expired. The game featured five ties and ten lead changes, and neither team led by more than six points.

The Wildcats came into Saturday’s matchup a 3.5-point favorite to beat the Longhorns. After the first matchup, most people expected to see a close game at Bramlage Coliseum. However, one team forgot to show up to the gym. The Longhorns were absolutely dominated by K-State from the opening tip. Texas trailed 8-2 after the first media timeout and it only got worse for the Longhorns. UT trailed by as many as 23 in the opening half and went into the locker room down 39-18. The 18 first-half points marked the lowest point total by any Big 12 team in a half this season. Texas was stifled offensively, struggling to get anything going against the 2-3-zone defense implemented by Bruce Weber. Kansas State shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and hit five of seven from downtown. Freshman guard Marcus Foster went off for 17 points in the first half for State.

The second half didn’t start off any differently for the Longhorns. K-State pushed its lead to a game-high 26 with just under eight minutes to play in the game. The Horns continued to struggle to get anything going on offense. Isaiah Taylor, who had been getting into the paint at will during Texas’s seven-game winning streak, was stymied by the zone and Cam Ridley, who put up 18 points in the first meeting, was held to just five points on 2 of 7 shooting. The Longhorns cut the deficit a little bit in garbage time and ended the game on an 8-0 run. Despite that, Texas went on to lose 74-57, and it really wasn’t that close. Marcus Foster continued to dominate for Purple Kansas, ending the game with a career-high 34 points on 13 of 16 shooting. Despite his struggles, Isaiah Taylor led the Horns with 17 points. Unfortunately, a lot of his buckets were too little too late. Texas shot just over 32 percent as a team, and nobody on the squad shot better than 50 percent. The lone bright spot for Texas came at the charity stripe, where the Horns hit 16 of 18 at the line. Saturday was one to forget for the Horns.

Texas needed a quick turnaround because the Horns had to play against Oklahoma State on Tuesday night. The Cowboys came into Austin losers of four in a row but were looking to beat the Horns for the fifth straight time. The biggest storyline heading into the game was the absence of OSU star point guard Marcus Smart. Smart served the first game of his three-game suspension he received in Lubbock for shoving a Texas Tech fan.

The Longhorns played the role of Kansas State on Saturday and owned Oklahoma State in the first half. Texas was playing without leading scorer and rebounder Jonathan Holmes who missed the game with a leg injury. Despite his absence, the Horns had no problem putting points on the board. Texas scored 54 points in the first half and came just a point away from giving Longhorn fans a Plucker’s coupon before the break. Four players ended the first half in double figures for Texas. Texas made eight threes in the first half and shot 48 percent from the field. The Horn defense wasn’t too bad either, holding the Pokes to 32 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes. After trailing by 21 after the first half on Saturday, the Horns led OSU by 21 on Tuesday’s break.

The second half continued to be just as dominant for the Horns. Texas opened the half on a 12-4 run, pushing its lead to a game-high 29 with 15:53 remaining. The Longhorns went on to win 87-68. Sophomore Javan Felix, after missing the game at Kansas State with a concussion suffered in Fort Worth, was red hot from start to finish. Felix scored 27 points for UT and nailed six threes in the victory. Felix entered the game just a 30 percent shooter from deep but was able to drain six of his eight attempts. Cameron Ridley picked up his sixth double-double of the season, posting a statline of 12 points and 13 boards. Freshman Martez Walker added a career-high 12 points, while Isaiah Taylor put up 16 for Texas. As a team, the Horns went 11 for 23 from three-point land while shooting 47 percent from the floor. Texas was able to get its transition game going, putting up 17 fastbreak points by forcing 10 Cowboy turnovers. The Horns shot 24 of 31 from the foul line, improving their season average to nearly 67 percent.

Texas got a much needed bounce back win against the shorthanded Cowboys on Tuesday. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Longhorns. Texas hosts surging West Virginia on Saturday night. The Horns knocked off WVU in Morgantown on Jan. 13 by a final of 80-69. Since the first meeting, the Mountaineers have gone 5-3 and sit at 7-5 in the Big 12 conference. They’re also coming off of a nearly perfect performance in a 102-77 blowout win over 11th ranked Iowa State. West Virginia has two of the top three scorers in the conference in Juwan Staten (18.3 PPG) and Eron Harris (17.4 PPG). The Mountaineers have wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma, two of the three teams the Horns have lost to in the Big 12. Following the game on Saturday, the Horns travel to Ames on Tuesday and to Lawrence on Saturday. Iowa State is currently the second-highest ranked team in the conference, while the Jayhawks continue to lead the Big 12 by a game over UT. The Longhorns can’t overlook West Virginia on Saturday, because the Mountaineers have proven that they are capable of pulling the upset. A successful week and a half can put Texas atop the Big 12, but two or three losses would throw the Horns back into the middle of the pack in the conference. It’s time to see what this team is made of.

Rick Barnes, Texas Longhorns, Longhorns, University of Texas


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