clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Notes from the Texas Tip-Off

New, comments

The White team won, but you probably don’t actually care about that.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-UNI vs Texas
My sandwich was this big. I am telling you, it was really something else.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns put on an entertaining, if ragged, evening of basketball for fans attending the Texas Tip-Off at Gregory Gym. Kerwin Roach of the Orange squad missed a potentially game tying half-court shot at the buzzer, and the White team prevailed 59-56.

The Orange team looked in control for much of the second half until the White squad slowly came back, and the game was competitive late.

Things started to heat up when Kendal Yancy blocked a Kerwin Roach jumper with less than two minutes remaining, and Andrew Jones took the ball the length of the floor to bring the score to 53-52. Roach would come back down the floor, draw a foul, and make one of his two free throws to put the Orange team up by two.

White struck back immediately, as Kendal Yancy took the ball end to end against a a sleepy Orange defense and dunked to tie the game at 54-54. But the Orange team responded by finding Shaquille Cleare for a dunk attempt. Cleare missed the dunk as he was fouled and dropped both free throws to to put Orange up by two.

At that point, things got a little weird. Eric Davis ended up isolated on Mareik Isom after a switch, and nailed a step back three to put the White team up 57-56. It was the sort of low percentage shot that would drive me nuts if this were a real game, but this was not a real game.

Jacob Young missed three at the other end for the orange team, and the scramble ended with a jump ball. The possession arrow pointed to the White team (I should point out their jerseys were actually grey), and it took possession holding on to a one point lead. When James Banks was fouled moments later and hit both of his free throws, it put the White team up by the final 59-56 margin with 2.8 seconds remaining.

The White team won; I had Orange in my survivor pool, so crap. Let’s just hit some notes about what we saw tonight.

  • The rosters for the game were split fairly evenly.

Orange Team Roster. Kerwin Roach, Jacob Young, Joe Schwartz, Tevin Mack, Shaquille Cleare, Mareik Isom, Ryan McClurg

White Team Roster. Andrew Jones, Eric Davis, Kendal Yancy, Isaiah Hobbs, Dylan Osetkowski, James Banks

  • Freshman Jarrett Allen was held out of the game with a hamstring injury. Hopefully he didn’t get it playing Legend of Zelda, which was a game I never really had the patience for. I was more of a Tecmo Bowl man myself.
  • Isaiah Hobbs is a Junior College transfer from Howard College in Big Spring, Texas. He played as a freshman at Texas Pan American appearing in 27 games while there. Last season as a JuCo player he played in eight games, averaging 2.3 points per contest. I cannot tell you much else about him, other than he sent Bitterwhiteguy and I into a DM frenzy trying to figure out who he was moments before the tip, and that Texas appears to have picked up another walk-on for the season.
  • Before the game Shaka Smart told the crowd “We’ve got some young guys who think they’re really, really good.”
  • Tulane transfer Dylan Osetkowski got off to a good start, running the floor for a dunk and looking comfortable in the pick and roll game. He is a physical kid who at Tulane rebounded and took (and mostly missed) perimeter shots. Tonight he hit a few threes, sinking one early and nailing a nice shot in the second half. (Additionally, shortly before halftime banked in another three — hit the square, we always say here at Burnt Orange Nation.) If he can make shots from range he will be an asset for the team, which is something that we discussed in the soon to be released Smart Texas Basketball 2016. But none of this will matter until next season, when he will first be eligible to play.
  • The ball went inside early to Shaquille Cleare who hit a jump hook over freshman James Banks. Moments later Cleare found Tevin Mack with a behind the back pass in transition (seriously) for an open three. Cleare is leaner this year, but every bit as strong. Maybe stronger; he tossed the 240 lb Banks around all night in a manner that seemed almost effortless. Cleare’s footwork remains as good as it always has been in the post, and he was able to work Banks on the block throughout the game. This is the difference between a freshman and a fifth-year senior.
  • Mack got off to a strong start, driving into the paint to hit a floater and then hitting a transition three a few minutes later. And he was just getting warmed up. Mack poured in the points, playing far more under control than what we typically saw from him last season. This can be a big development if it extends into the games. Because if Mack has started to acclimate to the D-I game, then he is going to put up some points.
  • I think Andrew Jones ends up handling the ball more than Kerwin Roach does, but shared responsibility seems likely where things are headed. Jones seems to see the floor pretty well when handling the ball. Still, there is going to be a somewhat tough adjustment for this program without Isaiah Taylor. Roach did make a nice play late in the first half breaking the full court trap and going all the way to the rim.
  • Kendal Yancy was far more aggressive on offense than what we have typically seen. He put the ball on the deck a number of times to attack the basket. Yancy is the only upperclassman in the back court on this team and I suspect he will see the floor more this year than he did a season ago.
  • Mareik Isom is a pick and pop player. That is what he is going to do for this team. There is no hesitation on his shot at all.
  • Speaking of not hesitating, Jacob Young is not shy with the shot.
  • James Banks has a long way to go, just like we told you. But he is young, and he did ice the game at the free throw line.
  • Both sides were messing around with a 1-3-1 zone late in the first half. The early returns for this defense were not particularly good. Let’s hope they either tighten things up or throw it out.

Our next look at the Longhorns will be in a November 2 exhibition game against Angelo State, before getting the season started for real against Incarnate Word on November 11.

Until the games start, you can stoke your basketball jones with Smart Texas Basketball 2016. It is available for pre-order now from Amazon and iTunes, and will release next Monday.