Frustration, disappointment and embarrassment.
These were all sentiments echoed by Texas players and coaches following the eighth conference loss of the season for the Longhorns.
Ioannis Papapetrou hit the nail on the head when he talked about his teammate’s effort during their 72-59 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon.
“Guys don’t want to buy in to what we want to do out there,” Papapetrou said. “We didn’t show up.”
Throwing an entire team under the bus is a bold move for a freshman, but it’s something that could be beneficial to a growing team. Rick Barnes doesn’t seem to be holding his team accountable, so it has to come from the players. If the Longhorns won’t buy in to what Barnes has to say, maybe a teammate can get them moving in the right direction.
Even Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford seemed to feel a bit of sympathy for Texas following the game.
“Texas is in a very similar situation as we were last year,” Scott said. “A very young team that we respect a lot, but has struggled quite a bit.”
Papi even went so far as to apologize to Texas fans on more than one occasion during a postgame press conference.
“I feel bad for fans that paid to see that,” Papapetrou said. “I want to apologize for the effort we showed today.”
Papapetrou’s confidence has grown as he has spent more time on the court and he played one of his most complete games to date against the Cowboys. Not only did he lead Texas in scoring with 15 points, but his seven rebounds were also a team-high. His four assists and four steals helped Texas in transition, but like many times this season there was little production from the rest of the team.
“We do play hard, but not for the whole game,” Papapetrou said.
Most notably, the Longhorns’ leading scorer Sheldon McClellan was virtually absent the entire game and finished well short of his 14.8 point per game average. A couple of weeks ago Barnes touched on wanting to see more “bite” from McClellan late in games, but McClellan lacked any sort of urgency.
When Barnes was asked about McClellan’s performance he had very little insight to offer and his answer spoke volumes about where this team stands from a chemistry standpoint.
“You’ll have to ask [Sheldon] about that,” Barnes said. “I don’t know what’s wrong. He has to score and we’re not asking him to guard anybody. He should want to be the best at running the lane and he’s not consistent in that regard.”
The elephant that has been on the bench for 23 games, Myck Kabongo will return to the starting lineup in the Longhorns’ next game against Iowa State on Wednesday. There are rumblings of a Jonathan Holmes return as well, although Barnes declined to say whether Holmes was ready to play.
“We haven’t had our whole team playing together the whole season,” Barnes said. “It feels like a broken record, but we will see how things go once we have everyone back. There will be a different team on the floor on Wednesday.”