I was hopeful that we'd at least salvage a basketball win to numb some of the pain of yet another loss to K-State, but alas, the Longhorns couldn't seal the deal on the hardwood either, falling 100-95 to Oregon State in overtime. The frustrating thing is that we had it, leading for the majority of the game and by 7 with 4:00 remaining, 75-68. That's when Jonathan Holmes fouled out, and Clint Chapman followed him to the bench with fouls 4 and 5 over the next 90 seconds. Both Alexis Wangmene and Myck Kabongo missed 1 of 2 free throws down the stretch, giving Oregon State just enough room to get the game to overtime.
On the whole, there were certainly things to like about our performance -- including the fact that we should have beat a pretty solid Oregon State team -- but the loss was a tough reality check, as well. We lost in large part because of the two key weaknesses we identified coming into this season: frontcourt size and youth. The Beavers pulled down 18 offensive rebounds, and our young players faded down the stretch, unable to close out the game. Honestly, we looked a lot like the 2006-07 Longhorns team: talented, offensively explosive, and critically weak on the glass and interior defense.
We weren't helped by the officials, who weren't necessarily unfair, but who really hurt us with four moving screen fouls on our big men. Along with the rebounding and turnovers -- 23 in all -- foul trouble hurt us all game. On the bright side, that we could rebound so poorly, be in foul trouble, turn it over 23 times, and still be in great position to win is a good reflection on what we're capable of.
J'Covan Brown played a masterful game overall, but I thought he was a little bit too unselfish over the last 10 minutes of the game. As talented as Kabongo is, we need to run the offense through Brown on most possessions. Kabongo will get there, but Brown is just so much further advanced at this stage. Elsewhere, briefly: good games from Holmes, Wangmene, and McClellan (first half especially); poor showings by Chapman, Lewis, and Kabongo. On the other side, Jared Cunningham was fantastic, and their big man Joe Burton was a difference maker with his all-around play. We did a terrific job on their point guard Starks, but he hit his only two threes of the game when they mattered most.
I probably would spend more time on a detailed write up had we won, but I'll put that off until after our consolation game match up versus NC State on Monday (5:30 p.m. CT tip). Sunday's my birthday and I'm pretty grumpy that we lost. It was a learning loss, but it would have been a great learning win. It should have been.
Of course, K-State was in town for football, and we were playing hoops in East Rutheford. This probably should have been expected. Hook 'em.