The theme was basically set from the opening tip: Texas was good, but just not good enough to secure an upset over No. 14 Iowa State in Ames, falling 85-75.
Javan Felix led the way in the Longhorns' losing effort, adding 18 points on 7-13 shooting, including the 13 points he willed into the rim to keep Texas in the game down late in the second half. Tevin Mack matched that effort, pouring in 18 of his own, courtesy of five connections from deep; most of which came at key moments just when it looks like Iowa State would pull away. Kendal Yancy and Prince Ibeh both added 10 points, and Ibeh's usual defensive dominance was voided by foul trouble throughout, which began with his first trip to the bench with two fouls at the 15:46 mark in the first half. Isaiah Taylor also contributed nine points, but his most notable contribution was his eight assists. The remainder of the roster didn't find much success, though, collectively scoring 10 points on 4-16 shooting, including 0-6 from the perimeter.
For Iowa State, Georges Niang had his way to the tune of 24 points on a 9-16 shooting effort, hitting all three looks from deep. Monte Morris matched Niang's point contribution with 24 on 9-13 FGs. Matt Thomas and Deonte Burton both scored in double figures and combined for 23 points, while Jameel McKay added eight points and seven boards in his return from a two-game suspension.
In a nutshell, tonight's losing effort seemed like the game was always an inch outside of Texas' reach. You can credit that to a poor shooting display from deep (8-28), inexcusable turnovers, such as letting passes sail out out of their hands, Yancy never turning around for a Taylor pass, and quite simply not seeing contributions from key players. Connor Lammert didn't hit a single shot from the field, and Eric Davis Jr. and Kerwin Roach Jr. didn't provide much of an offensive spark off the bench, nor did Demarcus Holland.
There's really not much more to it than that. Ames is a tremendously hard place to steal a win without a solid team-wide effort, and when Morris, one of the nation's best floor generals, and Niang, one of the nation's best players, combine for 48 points shooting 64 percent from the field, there's not much that can be done. The Cyclones hit big shots, and did a tremendous job of taking advantage of mismatches, which often centered around, guess who; Niang.
This now makes Texas 0-2 as a ranked team this season after falling in Norman and Ames after rising to No. 24 this week. The good news: Texas finally gets some home cooking for a two-game stint in Austin next week, and it comes against No. 10 West Virginia and No. 21 Baylor; both have lost to Texas this season. The bad news: While Texas could easily go 2-0 at home next week, it could just as easily go 0-2 for a 16-11 season record. With rematches against Kansas and Oklahoma still looming, next week is absolutely crucial for Shaka Smart and the Longhorns.