With a second half explosion, the Texas Longhorns cruised to an easy 97-69 win over The Citadel. Lew Stallworth led all scorers with 21 points, while five Longhorns scored in double figures, paced by 15 points each by Dylan Osetkowski and Kerwin Roach. For Roach, one of these 15 was his 1,000th career point as a Texas Longhorn.
I split a bottle of wine with my wife during dinner, and then have been drinking Wild Turkey ever since, so I am going to keep this short. After some early struggles, the Texas Longhorns ground the high scoring Bulldogs of The Citadel into a fine low bulk density powder — effectively reducing coach Duggar Baucom’s squad to combustible dust.
It was everything you could expect from a November Friday night hoops contest between Texas and The Citadel. There were dozens of fans in the Erwin Center. Duggar Baucom was dressed in a sweet Adidas wind breaker. And Lowell Galindo and Lance Blanks were trying really hard while your faithful blogger was trying to forget adult responsibilities while watching basketball and getting hammered.
The Texas Longhorns struggled for the first eight minutes of the game. Shortly after the under 16 minute media time out Texas broke open what was up to that point a 16-16 game with back-to-back threes by Elijah Mitrou-Long and Matt Coleman, and a hammer dunk three-point play in transition by Kerwin Roach. Texas never really looked back.
About that Roach dunk. It was lovely; Texas moved the ball end to end with only a single dribble. But Mr. Galindo got a little carried away, suggesting that it belonged at the front of Roach’s highlight reel. Mr. Galindo clearly forgets this dunk, from Roach’s freshman year.
Kerwin Roach Jr. makes his case for DUNK OF THE YEAR. https://t.co/LpmDueWkQk— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 2, 2015
This is not to say that the first half was basketball elegance — it was not. In the first twenty minutes Texas only committed 1 turnover, grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, but only shot 2-20 from three point range. It was good enough for a 42-30 halftime lead, and conformed to the old caricature of Rick Barnes Texas Basketball. Perhaps the Longhorns should just embrace it; Rick Barnes Tennessee Basketball is in the top 10.
In the second half, Texas looked a little different. The switch flipped, and the game was over. Texas started out with two quick corner threes for Jase Febres, followed up with transition dunks by Roach and Dylan Osetkowski. Osetkowski’s was a reverse. They kept things rolling, with Febres and Courtney Ramey nailing open perimeter shots. The game was a wrap.
- For a team that wants to play fast, Texas doesn’t really play fast. The Longhorns just played an 80 possession game against The Citadel. That may not mean much to you, but it means a lot to a dork like me; let me explain. It probably won’t be the slowest game that the Bulldogs play this year, but it will be at the lower end of things. I know the number of possessions a team plays doesn’t tell you everything about tempo — Shaka Smart said as much in a recent press conference, and in fact I have been making this case for years — but still. Yes, the Texas defense is good enough that slows down the game, but the Texas offense is slowing things down as well — particularly against a zone defense. Which brings us to...
- Texas needs to retool its zone offense. The Citadel played a lot of zone (as any rudimentary scouting report surely revealed), and Texas looked sort of lost attacking it for the first 20-30 minutes of the game. I get what Smart has been trying to do against zones so far early this year, but it a pretty unconventional way to attack a style of defense that is generally undone by sticking with convention — and it hasn’t looked good at all. Midway through the second half I started to think that Shaka Smart agrees with me, as the Longhorns ditched the multiple ball screen vs. zone defense approach it has been playing early in the season and went with a typical zone overload attack. It may not be coincidental that this was the point where Texas put the game away. Through the first few games, I thought the Longhorns were just not recognizing the defense and mistakenly running their man-to-man offense against zone much of the time... but tonight made that bit of self-delusion impossible to stick with.
- Jase Febres was 4-5 from three point range. Just pointing this out.
- As we predicted on the Pretend We’re Football Podcast (following a great nautical tradition, Bitterwhiteguy was drunk at sea, so I was called in as a substitute and given a chance to mock the host’s jawline), Texas attempted more than 40 three point shots in the game. The Longhorns finished 12-42 from long range.
- I don’t think it is predictive in any way, but Texas finished the game with 21 offensive rebounds. One thing that may be predictive is that the Longhorns only turned the ball over seven times in a high possession game against a team that presses.
Jeff’s writing tunes provided by Panjabi MC.