Reeling men’s basketball team needs Sheldon McClellan to step up when it hosts hot Oklahoma State squad


Shelby Tauber

Sophmore Sheldon McClellan attempts a layup in the Longhorns' win against TCU on February 4. Mclellan has shot just 34.2 percent in the last four games and will look to get back on track against Oklahoma State.

Christian Corona

Three weeks ago, after Texas’ 64-59 loss to Kansas, Sheldon McClellan admitted to thinking about some big leads that the Longhorns (10-12, 2-7) had blown earlier in the season. 

“I’m glad you told me that,” head coach Rick Barnes said. 

McClellan, who came into this season as the team’s go-to offensive weapon, has been in and out of Barnes’ doghouse all season long. The sophomore guard is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.8 points per game. But he’s shot just 34.2 percent in his last four games. 

“When he’s dialed in, there’s no doubt he’s a guy that can go get points in a lot of different ways,” Barnes said. “He’s got great touch around the basket. He’s shown the floaters. He can obviously knock down shots. It’s when he’s not working as hard as he has to work where he starts forcing shots.” 

Texas hosts No. 22 Oklahoma State (16-5, 6-3) on Saturday afternoon. The Longhorns have lost seven of their last nine games, two of them to West Virginia, who beat Texas, 60-58, on Monday. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have won their last four games. 

Oklahoma State handed Kansas its first loss in Big 12 play last weekend, beating the Jayhawks, 85-80, at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. It broke an 18-game winning streak and was Kansas’ first home loss in 33 games, dating back to when J’Covan Brown led the Longhorns from 13 down to beat the Jayhawks on their home floor two seasons ago. 

This weekend will mark Texas’ sixth game against a ranked opponent, with the Longhorns going 1-4 in the previous five contests. The last time the Longhorns faced a team in the Associated Press Top 25, they suffered their worst road loss in conference play under Rick Barnes by falling to No. 18 Kansas State, 83-57, in Manhattan on Jan. 30. It was Texas’ worst loss since the 97-66 loss to Duke in 2005. 

McClellan scored a team-high 15 points, but on just 3-for-12 shooting. He committed as many turnovers (three) as the number of shots he hit from the floor. 

“When he’s dialed in, he knows he’s got to work to get open,” Barnes said. “When he’s lazy and floating around, people are there and he’s not set. He’s not ready. That’s when he struggles.”

Published on February 8, 2013 as "OK won't do against OK State".