It wasn’t the most glamorous effort of the season, but a back-and-forth battle between Texas and Stanford in Palo Alto saw the Longhorns prevail 75-73 in their first true road game in the United States this season.
Led by noteworthy performances by Isaiah Taylor and Kerwin Roach Jr., Texas elected to use the entire 40 minutes to secure a road victory, as opposed to capitalizing on their multiple opportunities to close the game. But a victory is a victory, nonetheless, and this Longhorns win now places Texas at 8-3 on the season after a sixth-straight victory.
In what was virtually a homecoming to the Bay Area for Taylor, he led Texas with a game-high 26 points on 11-17 shooting, along with six assists to make for his bet performance of the season. Roach also had arguably his best performance of this young season, nothing 14 points on 6-7 from the field. Cameron Ridley also played a vital role down the stretch with some crucial buckets around the rim en route to yet another double double; his third straight and fifth of the season.
Outside of individual performances, it’s hard to point out too much positive from Texas’ road trip to California. But not every win is going to be pretty, especially on the road. The Longhorns came, they saw, and they conquered in a revenge game for last season’s 74-71 OT loss in Austin.
Outside of the reality that Texas managed to escape with a road win that may prove vital once the tourney season rolls around, Texas left much to be desired and much to be improved upon Saturday night. Despite the numerous sharpshooters at Shaka Smart’s disposal, the Horns’ shot only 7-20 from the perimeter, while Stanford hung around by hitting 10-19 (52.6%), headlined by Dorian Pickens (6-7) and Rosco Allen (3-7). And an even greater cause for concern was Texas poor free throw performance, both in regards to converting and quite simply even getting to the line. Texas knocked down a mere 40 percent of its free throw looks tonight, and the worst part is they only shot 10. I’m not the most intelligent math mind, but that equates to four free throws. That’s, um, not good. Stanford cashed in on 19-22 looks from the charity stripe, which also became an avenue Texas left open for the Cardinal to hang in until the bitter end.
Again, this was far from a perfect game for Texas, but that’s also a notable feat. The eye test suggests Texas was in control from the tip, but the stat sheet tells a different story of Taylor playing hero to an inconsistent Texas effort. But ugly wins are learning lessons, and some game film will ultimately show how the Longhorns could have put this game out of reach long before a last second Taylor floater determined Texas’ fate.
Next up, the Longhorns return home to host No. 25 Connecticut, whom they knocked off last season with a Jonathan Holmes last second heave.