Following the Longhorns’ 72-59 loss to No. 22 Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon, Texas head coach Rick Barnes summed up his team’s performance in three words before elaborating on the state of Texas basketball.
“I was baffled,” Barnes said. “That wasn’t a pretty game any way you look at it.”
After gaining a three-point lead early in the first half, the Longhorns (10-13, 2-8 Big 12) fell victim to heavy defensive pressure from the Cowboys (17-5, 7-3 Big 12), resulting in yet another conference letdown. Texas shot a paltry 5.6 percent from three-point range in its worst performance from beyond the arc since 1990.
The Longhorns’ chances at making a postseason tournament of any kind have been in jeopardy for some time now, and with eight games to go in conference play things don’t seem to be getting any better.
“I told the guys that they were going to be graded in three ways,” Barnes said. “First is their effort. Second is how fearless they are on the court during games, and third is if they actually want to be coached. You have to want to be coached in order to improve.”
Texas entered halftime trailing by seven points, holding the Cowboys to 32.3 percent field goal shooting, but freshman point guard Javan Felix’s four first-half turnovers kept the Longhorns from getting anything going offensively.
“Javan played his worst game by far this year,” Barnes said.
Felix eventually fouled out in the second half, but not before coughing the ball up eight times and recording just one assist in 27 minutes. Felix, the Big 12 leader in minutes played, has started each conference game but has not found his shot or open teammates on a regular basis.
Ioannis Papapetrou led Texas in scoring for the first time this season with 15 points. Papapetrou has shown promise as of late and has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games. Only one other Longhorn, Demarcus Holland, reached double digits as the freshman added a career-high 13 points against Oklahoma. Texas’ leading scorer, Sheldon McClellan, failed to score a basket until nine minutes remained in the game, and finished with just four points.
“We don’t play as a team,” Papapetrou said. “Guys worry about themselves, who’s getting the most minutes or their personal stats, but it’s a team game.”
Although the Longhorns scored 19 points off 17 Cowboys turnovers, the Texas post players were manhandled on the offensive glass and pressured into making mistakes far too often. Save for Papapetrou, the Texas bigs scored just 10 points, with eight credited to Jaylen Bond in garbage.
Now that his 23-game suspension has been served, sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo is slated to make his season debut Wednesday night at home against Iowa State. After Felix’s last outing, Kabongo’s presence will be welcomed by Texas and adds a boost to the sluggish offense that has been on display all year.
“Myck will definitely start Wednesday,” Barnes said. “He has been our hardest worker all year and he’s dying to play. There’s no doubt he has to start.”
Published on February 11, 2013 as "Barnes baffled by defeat".