Texas Basketball: Longhorns Handle Tigers, Improve to 6-0

The roll continues. No. 7/8 Texas Longhorns improved their conference mark to a league leading 6-0, with a 71-58 victory over No. 11/13 Missouri Tigers. The ‘Horns have won each of their Big 12 games by double digits and continue adding notches to one of the most impressive resumes in the country.

The Longhorns started the game on a quick 10-0 run and really, never looked back. The lead was as big as 18 points in the first half, but the ‘Horns let Missouri cut the advantage to just 11 points after a final minute three by Phil Pressey.

Missouri played better in the second half and was the beneficiaries of horrific free throw shooting by multiple Longhorns. The Tigers got the lead to eight points, but Texas pulled away late with buckets by Jordan Hamilton and Cory Joseph, solid work on the glass by Tristan Thompson and Hamilton, and better free throw shooting by J'Covan Brown.

PB will be around in the next few days with a Texas Basketball Report but a few quick points.

  • Tristan Thompson looked like a man amongst boys on the glass. TT grabbed 13 boards on the game but set the tone early with about five rebounds before the first television break.
  • Gary Johnson was also solid early and a big part of the Texas offense as the ‘Horns built a double digit lead. After struggling from the field recently, Gary's mid-range jumper was falling in the first half. Gary's 15 points and nine boards are exactly the workmanlike effort this team needs to be elite. Typically a more consistent free throw shooter, his 5-for-12 mark is a forgettable one.
  • Texas did have 15 turnovers on the game but high marks go to Dogus Balbay, Cory Joseph, and J'Covan Brown for handling the pressure. I also liked that Barnes elected to have a guard throw the ball in after made baskets instead of our typical choice of Johnson or Matt Hill. That choice allowed Doge to pass the ball back into a ball handler's hands (usually Joseph), and allowed Texas to attack the press and get the ball across halfcourt more easily.
  • Lost in the turnover battle and the domination by TT on the glass was a really solid game from Hamilton. Jordan went for a game-high 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting while also grabbing 13 boards, the same number as Thompson. Add his five assists against just two turnovers and this is exhibit 21 that Jordan is a changed player. While he may not make first team All American, Hamilton is clearly first team All Big 12 and probably conference player of the year so far. His curl cut around a baseline screen by Thompson is basically undefendable. If the defender trails, Jordan can turn, rise, and knock down the 12 foooter. If TT's man provides help and bumps Jordan, then Thompson sets up shop under the basket and waits for the high-low entry pass. It's been said before but watching this year's offense has been a pure joy.

In clearly our toughest five game stretch of the season, Texas has skated through the first four without a black mark. Texas now heads to College Station with a real chance to win for the first time since 2004.

Next Game: at Texas A&M - Monday, January 31st 8 PM ESPN

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