The Longhorns defeated Iowa State on the road last night 78-58 to win their fifth straight game and remain perfect in Big 12 play. The Horns used a career night from Kenton Paulino to pull away from the Cyclones. Paulino, who has set career highs in points in each of the last two games, gave the Horns 20 points on 6 of 8 shooting from three point land.
Let's go inside the numbers to take a closer look at how everyone played last night.
20 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 5 turnovers, 6-8 3-Pt FG
Paulino is starting to find his stroke after a slow start to the year, something the Horns desperately need as teams pack in the paint to stop the Horns formidable front court. Paulino shot an astounding 48% from beyond the arc last year, but until recently, he'd been struggling with his shot. His hot hand has allowed Texas to thrive on the perimeter, but once again he had too many turnovers. If he can improve in that area, we'll have nothing to complain about. A nice game from Kenton.
19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 4-8 3-Pt FG
He still looks out of sync, but he's getting better. The four threes are a great sign for Gibson, who's also been struggling mightily from the outside. If he and Paulino have regained their strokes for good, Texas becomes infinitely harder to stop on offense. He's still not doing much as a floor leader, but at least we're getting some better scoring from him. The improvement will continue. Gibson's too good to struggle like he was.
10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers
Buckman is a huge part of the Texas offense. He does a great job being physical underneath, he sees the court well for a big guy, and he wears down opponents. He still looks a little rusty, and he's clearly still ailing some, but Texas needs him and he's answering the call. It would be nice if Texas had more depth to rest him some, but we'll take what we can get for now.
17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers
On some plays, he's the best player in college basketball. On others, you just kind of shake your head and wonder what it's like to be a guy that crazy. Either way, he's so important to our team, and he's gotten back to what he's good at. Tucker is the kind of player you hate to play against. He's physical, he hustles, he's kind of loony, and he's lightning quick. You want to tell him to get under control, but when you think about it, that's what makes him effective, so you have to take the bad with the good. One of my favorite players, for sure, Tucker is getting back in his groove. The Texas team crescendo is impressive.
9 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks
Aldridge is adjusting a little bit to the more physical style of Big 12 basketball, but he's doing great. He needs to be a little more assertive on offense, in my opinion, but part of is that we don't do a great job getting him the ball in a position for him to score. If the guards keep shooting well, Aldridge will benefit a lot, too.
3 points, 1 rebound, 8 assists, 0 turnovers
Yeah, buddy. Abrams played 22 strong minutes, spelling Paulino and Gibson effectively and giving the Horns some much needed guard quickness. You have to like Abrams energy, and he's developing very nicely into his role. Since Paulino isn't going to be effective every game, Abrams will be a vital part of this alarmingly thin team. Barnes is usually known for having deep teams, but this year it's basically a six-man team. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I hope the Horns are in shape. They're going to be mighty tired when this is all over.
This was a good win, even if we weren't perfect. The 17 turnovers is ridiculous, but other than some sloppiness with the ball (which tends to happen in these Big 12 slug fests), things worked well. We pushed the ball up the court much better last night, we hit Paulino when he was open, and the defense was stout. There's not much to complain about here, and Texas is starting to roll. As I wrote yesterday, if the defensive intensity is maintained throughout the season, Texas will be awfully tough to beat. That, though, is where Texas' lack of depth may catch up to them. It's hard to maintain that kind of defensive energy when you don't have any subs to spell the talent.