Texas basketball’s difficulties against ranked teams continue with loss to No. 15 Iowa State

Nick Pannes, Sports Reporter

For the third time this season, No. 21 Texas fell to a ranked opponent on the road. While the Longhorns cut a 15-point deficit to five with just over four minutes to go, Texas couldn’t recover from their early blunders, losing to No. 15 Iowa State 79-70.

Despite Iowa State’s ranking, the game was arguably Texas’ to win. 

The Longhorns entered the matchup riding the momentum from a decisive 14-point win over archrival Oklahoma. Texas head coach Chris Beard said the team lived up to its potential in one of their best games of the season. And in terms of raw talent, Texas’ superstar roster should have given them the edge.

The Cyclones opened conference play by losing three of their last four games. Among those was their biggest upset of the season — a 13-point loss to the Sooners.

But the Longhorns dug themselves into a deep hole with sloppy play early on. 

Scoring leader Timmy Allen was benched for most of the game after putting himself into early foul trouble, with two fouls in the first 16 seconds. Poor interior shot selection had the Longhorns relying on senior guard Andrew Jones’ 3-point skill to stay competitive in the first half. A startling 13 first-half turnovers grew to 20 by the end of the game. 

Texas held their deficit to seven points by the end of the first half. But their resistance collapsed in the second half as Iowa State quickly took control of the game on both sides of the ball.

Cyclones senior guard Gabe Kalscheur ignited his offense with a barrage of unanswered threes in the first four minutes of the second half. Despite shooting 24.7% from beyond the arc on the season, he finished the game 6-12 from deep and had a game-high 22 points.

Staunch baseline defending further stifled the Longhorns’ interior scoring, which had already been struggling. Although senior guards Marcus Carr and Courtney Ramey increased their output, their scoring was offset by a falloff in production from Jones.

The game was a reflection of mistakes that continue to plague Texas on the road, where they now hold a 1–4 record: a high number of turnovers, inconsistent performances from star players and late-game strategic breakdowns.

It’s always difficult to beat a ranked opponent in their own house, and all three of the Longhorns’ ranked games have taken place on the road thus far. But if this team wants to live up to its high expectations, it needs to build consistency away from home.

In addition to the Longhorn’s blunders, the Cyclones put together an impressive game. By shutting down Texas’ interior scoring, Iowa State alienated their top scorers and forced players like Carr and Ramey, who transitioned from flashy playmakers to facilitators under Beard’s system, to carry the offensive load.

Although Texas did defend well against Iowa State’s top scorer, senior guard Izaiah Brockington, they had no answer for the second and third men up. Against the top scoring defense in the country, Kalscheur proved he can finish from deep despite his poor shooting on the season. Freshman guard Tyrese Hunter played like a star facilitator, finishing the night with 13 points and eight assists.

For the Cyclones, the game was a great win against a ranked opponent. Just the type of victory coaches look for to break a losing streak. For the Longhorns, it was another lackluster loss against a ranked team. One marred by avoidable mistakes and a poor showing from their big men.