In a mid-week matchup, Texas looked to improve on last Saturday’s loss in Ames. Luckily, they came ready to play against the 15-6 (6-2, Big 12) Baylor Bears.
Their strong start enabled them to do this, as they approached this game differently. Instead of looking for perimeter opportunities, early on Texas found options in the paint and through drive-and-dish opportunities. This allowed for Jaxson Hayes and Dylan Osetkowski to have more chances with high percentage shots. Hayes especially benefited from this, going 5 of 7 from the field and totaling 12 points in 25 minutes. Additionally, this outlook opened up more opportunities down the stretch, allowing Kerwin Roach and Matt Coleman to get open or find open men around the perimeter. This leads me to my next point…. For the most part, the three-point shot selection was much better as a team. With a 26.1% three-point percentage against Iowa State, Texas was much better this game with less attempts from behind the arch and a 40% three-point percentage.
The Longhorns’ top performers on the night included:
- Kerwin Roach II – 21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
- Matt Coleman III – 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists
- Jaxson Hayes – 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks
These three played large roles in getting Texas ahead, especially through ball movement, creating space, and field goal percentage.
Compared to the loss in Ames, Texas was much better with ball security. They only had 9 turnovers compared to Baylor’s 14, a great improvement from last game. The team was also hot on offense, with a field goal percentage of 55.1%, an improvement from the 43.09% on Saturday. Texas managed to get to the line often, with 34 free-throw attempts on the night. If the team begins to capitalize on these opportunities they will be successful down the stretch. On the defensive side of the ball, the main success point came from their defensive switches. Their intervals of zone and press were decent within the first 30 minutes of play, causing turnovers at times. If Texas is able to figure out a more consistent approach to movement between these fast-pace defensive schemes, they will be a tough defense to face.
The issues, which were not as visible, lied within a few places including the occasional lackluster shot selection. This occurred as the game went on and the team got comfortable. Jase Febres was 0 for 5 from three-point range until he hit three in a row, finishing 3 for 9 from that range. Although he hit three, many of his early looks were contested and could have been passed inside for better looks from Hayes, Osetkowski, or Sims. Also, as the game progressed, Texas got too comfortable, allowing Baylor within 8 points at 53-45. This could have been avoided if Texas had converted more of their free-throw attempts, as they went 22 for 34 from the line. A field goal percentage of 64.7% does not scream consistency from a team standpoint, and needs improvement for closer matchups.
A win is a win, and Texas will take what they can get, especially with a score of 84-72 against the league’s leading team. If Texas improves on their weaknesses from this game, they should be able to take care of business moving forward, starting with a struggling West Virginia team.
Texas heads to Morgantown to play West Virginia on Saturday at the WVU Coliseum at 7:00 PM CST.
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