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Offensive slumps doom No. 7 Texas in 78-67 loss to No. 12 Iowa State

The Longhorns went the final 7:28 of the first half without a field goal before going 9:20 without a made basket in the second half.

Texas v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Looking for a resume-boosting road win, the No. 7 Texas Longhorns endured two long stretches without field goals, too much offensive ineptitude to overcome in Ames against the No. 12 Iowa State Cyclones as the Horns dropped the 78-67 contest at Hilton Colisuem.

Texas went the final 7:28 of the first half without a field goal — after a layup by guard Sir’Jabari Rice to go up 29-18, Iowa State outscored the visitors 18-6 over that stretch to take a lead into halftime. In the second half, guard Marcus Carr made a breakout layup in transition to take a 51-49. But when Carr hit a three 9:20 later, it only cut the margin to nine points, quickly stretched back to 11 when forward Timmy Allen was called for a loose-ball foul.

During the two stretches combined, the Horns were outscored 38-12.

It was a balanced scoring night for Texas, but one during which no single player was able to make a sizable difference — forward Christian Bishop led the scoring with 12 points and four other players scored nine or more. Forward Dillon Mitchell, the No. 5 prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, was scoreless in 16 points with two fouls and a single rebound.

The Longhorns also struggled from beyond the arc, hitting 4-of-17 threes (23.5 percent) while the Cyclones made 9-of-24 from beyond the arc (37.5 percent), a difference of plus-15 in favor of Iowa State on three-point makes. Former Iowa state guard Tyrese Hunter hit a three with 12:17 remaining in the first half as Texas took a 20-11 lead, but didn’t hit another until Carr’s futile three to break the 9:20 stretch without a field goal.

Booed by Cyclones fans on every touch, Hunter was aggressive early, hearing from the crowd after missing his first three, but then hitting the second and completing a three-point play after Allen found him on a cut and Hunter finished through contact at the rim. The three hit by Hunter was an important early basket for the Cyclones transfer after going scoreless against the Red Raiders on Saturday. With a 10-6 lead at the under-16 timeout, the Longhorns were off to a solid start following three sluggish openings.

By the next media timeout, Texas led 20-11 thanks to five points off the bench from Bishop, who brought positive early energy on both ends of the court with two blocks and an assist, similar effort from guard Sir’Jabari Rice, and a second three from Hunter.

With the Longhorns offense operating at a high level, Texas hit 6-of-7 field goals as Carr hit a tough runner with his right hand going left across the lane. The defense was locked in, too, holding Iowa State to a 1-of-5 stretch before giving up a three. Bishop followed with a conventional three-point play to exceed his scoring average.

The game swung when Iowa State guard Caleb Grill undercut Texas forward Dillon Mitchell on a rebound, sending Mitchell crashing to the floor and resulting in an open three for Grill in the five-on-four situation, starting an 8-0 run for the Cyclones as the Longhorns got careless with the basketball.

The timeout by Terry didn’t help the carelessness, as Iowa State’s pressure produced another turnover and a quick basket to cut the lead to one for the Longhorns. Hunter finally broke the 10-0 run by hitting the front end of a one and one. A veteran move by Rice picked up another foul after he broke the press, setting up two makes from the line. Bad defense with a small lineup resulted in two players rotating to Grill on a drive, leaving guard Gabe Kalscheuer open in the corner for a three.

As the trapping defense of the Cyclones continued to cause the Longhorns trouble, even in the halfcourt, Texas went more than six minutes without a field goal. Multiple offensive rebounds allowed Iowa State to take the lead and Carr turned the ball over on a drive that looked headed towards a layup with the Cyclones taking a 36-35 lead into halftime. By the buzzer, the Horns had gone 7:28 without a field goal, hanging close thanks to six free throws over that stretch.

So even though Texas shot 54.5 percent from the field in the first half, the eight turnovers by the Longhorns and seven offensive rebounds by the Cyclones produced nine more shots for the home team as Texas forced only three turnovers and grabbed a mere two offensive rebounds.

Two threes, including one with the shot clock expiring on a lucky deflection, helped Iowa State start strong in the second half, taking a 47-41 lead on a three-point play as the Cyclones worked hard to keep Carr from making plays, leading to several open opportunities for forward Dylan Disu, who left the game with his third foul before the under-16 timeout. Iowa State started the half on an 11-6 run.

Texas bounced back, tying the game at 49-49 by using ball screens to get bigs to switch onto Carr, whose penetrating resulted in a dunk by Bishop and a short jumper by guard Brock Cunningham. Strong defense by Carr on Kalscheur also forced a bad three from the corner and led to a breakout layup by Carr on a pass from Hunter.

Out of the under-12 timeout, a bad turnover resulted in a layup by Carr, who continued to force Kalscheur into ill-advised shots until a shot fake on Allen produced an open three that hit the bottom of the net, the start of a 6-0 run by Iowa State in response to the previous 8-0 run by Texas. When Disu got into the bonus, the Horns stemmed the surge with two free throws, but with both teams heading to the line on every foul call, efforts from the charity stripe began to loom large in the game as the under-eight timeout approached.

So Allen trying to pick up a charging foul near halfcourt to send the game into that break seemed like a questionable decision, especially as the call went in favor of Iowa State and guard Jaren Holmes made both for a four-point lead. A putback pushed the lead to six as the Longhorns missed six straight shots after adjusting pick-and-roll coverage to avoid switches before Grill hit a three off an offensive rebound and Rice turned the ball over, putting Texas near the brink with 5:50 remaining and a nine-point deficit.

Even a runout by the Horns couldn’t end the missed shots streak as Bishop missed an easy layup at the rim and the Cyclones called timeout — it was the first decent look for Texas during the game’s most important stretch. So when Carr hit that long-awaited three, the game was already effectively out of reach.

Texas returns with the hardwood on Saturday with a trip to Morgantown to face West Virginia, which remains winless in the Big 12 ahead of Wednesday’s game against No. 14 TCU.