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Horns Put it Together Against TCU

Here's a quick look, with plenty of notes, quotes and highlights from the Texas Longhorns' 60-43 win over the TCU Horned Frogs at the Erwin Center on Saturday night.

Ioannis Papapetrou finished with 13 points and nine rebounds in the win over TCU.

How the Longhorns (10-11, 2-6) Won
It won't get as much publicity as the December home victory over North Carolina but the case can be made that Saturday night's win for Texas was the best performance the Longhorns have put together this season. Texas shot the ball efficiently (52 percent for the game), limited itself to 11 turnovers, had three players score in double figures and limited TCU to just 33 percent shooting (17-for-52) for the game. It wasn't exciting, but it was efficient and that's what the Longhorns need at this point.

How the Horned Frogs (9-12, 0-8) Lost
The Horned Frogs managed to get some good looks at the rim at times, they just didn't make shots. Texas didn't do anything complicated. The Longhorns just out-executed TCU in nearly every facet of the game. You can't fault TCU's effort as the Frogs never faded, but the talent level and level of execution on the Texas side of the floor was simply better.

Game MVP
Goes to Ioannis Papapetrou. The honor could have gone to a number of different players but it goes to Papi. Not just because of his impressive line – 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting, nine rebounds, three assists – but it was his ability to be able to put the ball in the hole from different spots on the floor. His versatility on the offensive end of the floor is one of the things the Longhorns can hang their hat on right now.

It Was Over When...
Sheldon McClellan forced a turnover on TCU's final possession of the first half. McClellan deflected an arrant pass by TCU point guard Kyan Anderson. McClellan gathered the ball and missed the layup at the other end, but Julien Lewis was right there for a stick-back that beat the halftime buzzer. It was part of a 12-1 run that helped the Longhorns blow the game open.

Horns Up
To Connor Lammert. The freshman post seemed to be in the right place at the right time all night. His hands and feet were active on defense and his footwork in the post, discipline on cuts and understanding of his role on offense led to plenty of clean looks at the rim as he finished with 10 points (5-for-6 shooting). Lammert's smart brand of basketball like he played Saturday night is something that can really help this team the rest of the way.

Horns Down
To the Longhorns' defensive lapses. The Horned Frogs were able to get good looks at the rim early due to the inability of the Longhorn press to stop the ball. Texas also had a tough time stopping penetration at various times in the first half that led to either chances at the rim or open looks on the perimeter for TCU. In the second half Rick Barnes went with more traps early, which seemed to establish some consistency on the defensive end of the floor.

Biggest Surprise
Was Sheldon McClellan's efficiency. Not that it would be unexpected for McClellan to have a productive night, but scoring 15 points (6-for-9 shooting) in 30 minutes with no turnovers is the kind of effort he needs to bring to the floor on a nightly basis if Texas wants to be in the mix for more wins in Big 12 play.

Biggest Disappointment
Was the Longhorns' lack of focus in stretches in the second half. TCU got the lead down to nine at one point in the second half after trailing by 19 early in the half. The Horned Frogs were relentless, and it seemed like for stretches the Longhorns lacked focus. Of all the things that Rick Barnes didn't like following the game, this was at the top of the list.

Sheldon McClellan played an efficient game finishing with a game-high 15 points in 30 minutes.

Stat(s) of the Night
The Longhorns shot an efficient 52.3 percent from the floor, which is the best shooting night Texas has had all season. Saturday marked Texas' 100th win over TCU all-time making the Horned Frogs the fifth school the Longhorns have posted 100 or more victories against with Baylor, Texas A&M, Rice and SMU being the others.

Story of the Day
Credit the Longhorns for having cleaner execution, better shot clock management and better shot selection than they've shown all season to this point. Texas has two games left – Monday night at West Virginia and next Saturday at home against Oklahoma State – before the return of Myck Kabongo. If the Longhorns want to even think about sniffing the postseason, the offensive execution and overall defensive effort needs to look like it did Saturday night the rest of the way.

Rick Barnes on his team's focus:
“I told them that if you're not engaged with what we're doing then step aside and let somebody else do it for you. We've got to execute. They were more engaged tonight than they've ever been. The real question is why does that happen? When we get a lead we get lazy mentally.”

Barnes on where the Longhorns go from here:
”We've got to make it happen. Nobody is going to give it to us. We did good today. It's those little things that are going to keep getting us until we get it totally there. We haven't had our whole team and when we get it there we'll be better. Accountability is a great coach.”

Ioannis Pappetrou on playing inside more with Johnathan Holmes out:
“Basketball is basketball. Whatever I can do to help the team win, I'll do it.”

Connor Lammert on the offensive efficiency
“We played more inside out than we have been. We came in with that mindset. We shot a higher percentage because we got it inside and hit the guys on the outside more. We took great shots and worked the clock down well.”

TCU head coach Trent Johnson's assessment of the Longhorns:
“Texas got us out of sorts on defense. This team is young and talented and the future is bright. They just kept running a basic cut on us and kept getting it to their posts deep.”

Johnson on Javan Felix:
“Javan has done good job. I don't think many people understand the kind of job he's done and how difficult it is to play point guard as a freshman. I'm very familiar with him from LSU and the state of Louisiana. He's a special kid. He's going to be a good player.”

  • Thanks for the game story post, Jeff. OK. I am home from the game and my Catahoulas have allowed me to return from their evening constitutional.

    In the game thread I posted that, "We'll be there looking for any telltale signs of improvement." Well, I have read the sparse game thread posts (thanks Jeff and the other brave few. It must have been lonely.) I attribute the low turnout to the LHN and the fatigue induced by the "Ides of February 2nd". Not necessarily in that order. So here I am and I now intend to share my thoughts on tonights' game whether you like it or not. ;) Read it or don't.

    Since we all seem to agree that we have little chance of making the NCAA playoffs unless we make a run in the Conference Tournament, and my thinking is that that is unlikely, what I was looking for in this game was any sign on the downside of whether the team was imploding or not, and on the upside, whether they would show any resiliency after the Kansas State game. Like more than a few on this website, I was a little heartened after the Tech game. I did not get to see the Kansas State game, but I sure did notice the downward spiral in the tone of basketball discussion post Kansas State.

    I don't have the basketball expertise to carry on a technical discussion of what I saw tonight, like the likes of Dave, Jeff, bierce, HoopsCoach, and NYHorn to just name just a few of you, so I will limit my comments to impressions I had from what I saw tonight. To begin with, I was thinking this afternoon, if I were Coach, what would I say to this team? I would have said something like, "Guys. We are coming down to the end of the season, and it probably has not measured up, at this point, to any of our expectations. So, we gotta work with we got. I think it is time that we start acting like we are all a year older with commensurate experience. We gotta realize that we gotta stop waiting for the Cavalry to come rescue us, whether that is Sherriff Kabongo, or some ephemeral recruits that might or might not appear this summer. In fact, we are the only Cavalry that may be riding to our rescue. So, we should oughta start acting like we been there before if we want to be there again." So. In my self induced reverie of imagining that coach might actually be so delusional as to say something like that, this is what I saw.

    The team came out with a determination that showed the resilience and some grit that they have previously shown this season after bad games. Despite the relapses that have been well chronicled in the game thread and the game story, they really seemed focused. The guards made the best entry passes that I have seen this season, and I guess that the corollary to that must be that the bigs did the best job that they have done this season setting themselves up to receive those entry passes. Let me elaborate a little.

    Cameron Ridley came out on what I think was the first possession and worked to present himself in the low post. He did a pretty good job, even though as some posters have noted in other threads, he seemed a little slow in getting off his shot and it missed. I am not sure, but I think it was on the the next possession that he set himself up nicely again and made a nice move to the basket for the score. That seemed to set the tone for the inside game. Later in the first half Conner Lammert took the ball inside the three point line, found himself open and launched himself up for a jump shot. Now, I was sitting on the first row upstairs kind of right above him, and I clearly saw his facial expression and body language. Once he jumped, his expression said, "Oh crap, I should not take this shot!" His body language, reflected that thought as he was stiff as could be and looked pretty awkward. But, lo and behold, it went in. Next possession, I think, he set himself up well in the post for an entry pass that came to him right on time. Now, I thought that he was a bit too far out from the basket to effectively convert, but, pardon my use of lo and behold again, he dropped a step and slid a bit under and around the defender for a nice layup.

    Now, my short term remembry may be a little mixed up and I may have the sequences a little out of whack, but there were some other moves by the posts in the first half that that showed some promise. Of course, some posters have posted that Jaylen Bond has no offensive game whatsoever, and that might be the truth, but he and Demarcus Holland teamed up on an off target alley oop where Jaylen showed great hands and body control by taking the pass and putting it in for a lay up.

    Don't get me started on Papi. He continues to impress me with his ball handling, and now that he is having to play more at the five, he continues to show that he is adept at setting himself up in the post a little further out than you might think he should and still be able to make a move and convert. I am looking forward to seeing him in the future.

    Of course, it has been posted often how Prince Ibeh doesn't have an offensive game - probably rightfully so. But I think that Coach may have put a bug in his ear that he should oughta go ahead and try anyway. The Prince had two post moves that were impressive even though neither of them went in. The first was a spin move with a sky hook at the end of it. The form was pretty good, just a little too much extension on his arm at the end of the shot with a loss of control. Now I don't know much about basketball, but the little I know is about hook shots. Long story short is that I broke my leg in football during my freshman year in high school. When basketball season started, in my cast, on the other end of the court, I practiced two dribble and one step and turn hook shots off of my cast leg. There was no such thing as a three point line in those days, but I got to where I could sink about 70% of those shots out to the top of the free throw arc around the court. I could not play basketball worth crap, but I could hit those shots. Sorry for the diversion of the story. Ibeh's next post up ended in a nice drop step spin move that ended up bouncing off of the rim. I know that this part of my story is stretching it a bit, but both shots showed good form and Coach did not take him out after those shots. Besides, how is he gonna develop any offensive moves unless he tries them in game conditions? I guess the TCU game was as good as any to try.

    As some have commented, the team lost focus at times and defense seems to have suffered because of it. Though, as Coach said in his post game radio show, their press and trap defense was probably the best it has been this season and several times seemed to take an extra twelve to eighteen seconds off of the shot clock. The things that struck me about our defense was that we continue to get steals and get down on the floor and fight for the ball like I saw in the Tech game.

    Like the entire game, the guards seemed to have a mixed game. Juice and McClellan both started slow but came on later offensively, and both showed good hands and scrapped at times on defense. Felix had one defensive play where he just reached up and took the ball off of the chest of the guy that he was defending and took off down the court. He was called for a foul, of course, but it showed some moxie on his part. Speaking of good defensive plays, Ridley had a great block where one of TCU's guards drove past Ridley on the left side facing the basket. He got well past Ridley and did a two footed jump stop to attempt a layup. Before he had barely left his feet and with the ball about chest high holding it with both hands, Ridley caught up with him, reached around him from behind and got an all ball block out of bounds. I know that I am mixing and matching my offense and my defense and my guards and bigs, but i would be remiss not to mention Demarcus again. Contrary to the fact that some have posted that he should not be on a D1 roster, that young man makes everybody around him better. Coach put him back in to play defense with twenty seconds to go. As the game ended, Papi came over to Demarcus and gave him a big ol' bro hug. I hope that that exemplifies that this team will continue to work together to improve. I noticed, and Coach brought up in his post game radio show that they were communicating with each other better in this game as coach said they they do more consistently in practice. Maybe it is time to grow up.

    I know that this has gotten to be a long post. If that, or the style of the post bothers you, I apologise. A lot of people did not get to see what I consider was a pretty good game, and with all of the tribulations and gnashing of teeth of the "Ides of February 2nd", I though maybe some of you could use a good story. Telling it certainly was a bit cathartic for me, even though it is way past my bedtime. ;)

    This post has been edited 8 times, most recently by BudreauReye 14 months ago

  • Good post Budreau...............I didn't know you knew that many words! I thought Bond at times gave the Horns some good mins. While he makes mistakes he is probably the best player we have that gets into goo rebounding position every trip down the floor. He brings energy to the team and we seem to play harder when he is on the court. The Horns will have a chance to win every game (with the exception of KU) for the rest of the year. We will know there is improvement if we bring the same intensity every game.

    "Leadership is wisdom, courage and great carelessness of self"

  • I know the words. But stringing them together even semi-coherently at two o'clock in the morning is another thing. Now for the bad thing. I accidentally hit the "down vote" button while trying to hit the "Quote" button on your post. I definitely should leave attempting high skill eye hand coordination to other, more sophisticated posters before my coffee in the morning. I Will make it up to you elsewhere, as you usually still have had worthy things to say long after I have exhausted my up votes. Now I guess I gotta go see what's going on on, "As the World Regurgitates". ;)

    This post was edited by BudreauReye 14 months ago

  • Good post Budreau. It is good to read something besides negative lets fire Barnes and it is the end of the world for UT sports.

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