That was an ugly game for the Texas Longhorns for much of the action. Yet despite that, they had an ideal chance to run away with the game, but couldn’t capitalize, and thus, collapsed in a 85-78 overtime loss to Illinois.
Here are a few quick thoughts from the action.
What a collapse from Chris Beard’s club. From leading by 10 with less than half of a half remaining to losing by seven in overtime. A 17 point swing. A lot went into it, from Texas losing composure to poor lineups by Chris Beard to Illinois catching fire and so on, but there’s no two ways around it — when you have a 17-point swing after leading late, that’s terrible.
Timmy Allen was the best player on the floor for the Longhorns. The senior seemingly snapped out of his funk the last time out with 11 points versus Creighton, and he was far better tonight, proving to be the Longhorns most consistent and reliable source of offense on a night when they didn’t have much with 21 points. This version of Timmy Allen can change things for Texas, but it didn’t tonight because he was one of the few Longhorns who performed well.
Arterio Morris had himself a game, too. The five-star freshman has had some flashes this season, but opponent considered, this was his best outing of the season. He made several athletic hustle plays that won’t show up on the box score, and as far as that’s concerned, his nine points were incredibly impactful for a Texas offense that struggled to find much rhythm and consistency.
Marcus Carr is actually human this season. He’s been nothing short of exceptional in Texas’ recent wins, but he played one of his worst games as a Longhorn on Tuesday in MSG, finishing with just nine points on 3-14 shooting, including a miss at the buzzer to potentially win the game. After playing at such a high level in recent weeks, he was bound to have an off night at some point, but unfortunately for Texas, it came on a big stage and in a big game that will send. them down a few spots in the rankings. But the early signs indicate this should be the exception to the mean this season.
Size is Texas’ kryptonite. We got our first glimpse of that last week, and this time around, it was the defensive impact that completely got Texas out of sorts, with Illinois blocking 12 Texas’ shots and disrupting a number of others. The concern going forward is that Texas clearly doesn’t have an answer when the opponent has size, and that can very easily disrupt a season that otherwise seems to have high upside.
Timmy Allen, Arterio Morris, and Sir’Jabari Rice are the only three Longhorns who played well. When the bulk of your rotation doesn’t, and even plays poorly or is a non-factor, it’s hard to win games, much less against a good team. So now, Texas has it’s first loss of the season.