The Texas Longhorns won their first road game of the season, beating TCU in Fort Worth by a score of 68-59. The Texas offense was sensational, scoring 68 points in 55 possessions. Ioannis Papapetrou led Texas with 15 points, while Connor Lammert scored 13. Myck Kabongo scored 12 points, registered seven assists, and committed only two turnovers. Garlon Green scored 15 for the Horned Frogs.
This was the most dynamic that the Texas offense has looked all season. On offense, Texas did everything well, going 17-30 from two point range and stroking 7-18 from downtown. Four of those seven made threes were hit by Ioannis Papapetrou. Right now, Papi looks like Texas' second best offensive player, next to Myck Kabongo.
Kabongo was driving the basket pretty much whenever he wanted to in the first half. The Texas point guard was breaking ankles, and TCU's help defense wasn't particularly good in the first 20 minutes of the game. In the second half, TCU was better on their defensive rotations, and Kabongo was no longer able to get to the rim at will. Still, his late game spin move in the lane was wonderful.
In the second half of the game, Papapetrou and Lammert took over. Papi hit three of his three point shots in the second twenty, while Lammert dropped 11 points in 17 second half minutes, using a mix of post moves, tip ins, and a circus shot as he was fouled in transition.
Texas got off to a great start, taking an eight point lead into the locker room at half time. In the second half, TCU briefly made the game interesting, tying the game for a single possession just before the under eight minute media timeout. But Trent Johnson's team could never string enough defensive stops together to take the lead.
Rick Barnes gave significant minutes during the game to several players who didn't play very much at the start of the season. Connor Lammert started the game and played 32 minutes, while Prince Ibeh logged 19 minutes off the bench. Lammert and Ibeh both made productive use of the time; Ibeh blocked two shots, pulled down four rebounds, and scored four points against the Horned Frogs. While Lammert's play probably would have earned him the minutes anyway, Jonathan Holmes spent time on the bench with foul trouble, and it is still not clear if Cameron Ridley has recovered from being sick last week. (During the Kansas game on Saturday, it was reported that Ridley had strep throat.)
The most noticeable thing in the playing rotation was that freshman Demarcus Holland played 22 minutes while Sheldon McClellan played only one. When asked why his leading scorer hardly saw the floor, Rick Barnes said, "strictly accountability." I will let you folks parse that one for yourselves.
Texas' next contest is this Saturday night against Kansas State. While the Wildcats whipped the Longhorns so badly a few weeks ago that it reminded me of the painful burn of chlorinated solvents, this upcoming game is still winnable. Several things suggest that the outcome may be better for Rick Barnes' team: Texas plays the rematch at home, and the Longhorns are clearly better with Myck Kabongo on the court.