Here’s a look back at Texas’ 81-69 loss to Kansas State at the Erwin Center in Austin on Saturday night:
How the Wildcats (22-5, 11-3 Big 12) won: Kansas State was the better team, and it was evident for the entire game. The Wildcats had crisp ball movement that often got shooters open looks, they were more physical under the basket, and they know how to make free throws. The final score really doesn’t show how soundly K-State handled Texas Saturday night; the Longhorns never got within 12 points over the final 17 minutes of the game.
How Longhorns (12-15, 4-10) lost: Even with Myck Kabongo back in the lineup, the Texas offense finds it very difficult to get quality shots up. Numerous possessions came down to the final few seconds of the shot clock before someone would launch a contested shot. There were times when the transition offense looked good — that’s how Kabongo (24) and Sheldon McClellan (15) found a lot of their points — but when the game was in doubt, the baskets never came easy.
Game MVP: For Texas, it was Kabongo with his 24 points and six rebounds. For the game, it was Kansas State’s Angel Rodriguez, the sophomore point guard who finished with 16 points, six assists and was a perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line.
It was over when: It may have been the sequence at the end of the first half that started the slide. Kansas State had the ball up three with 22 seconds to go. Rick Barnes pleaded for his players not to foul and just play tough defense. Javan Felix then fouled Rodriguez on the inbounds pass, putting him on the line for two easy points. Kabongo lost control of the ball on Texas’ ensuing possession with just :02 to go in the half. Shane Southwell picked it up, took a few dribbles to get over halfcourt and launched a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give Kansas State a 40-32 lead at the half.
Horns up: Kabongo again; he was really the lone bright spot for Texas.
Horns down: To the Texas bigs, as a group. Connor Lammert, Jonathan Holmes, Jaylen Bond and Prince Ibeh combined for just 11 points, and the two starters (Lammert and Holmes) combined for only three rebounds.
Stat(s) of the night: At the under 12:00 TV timeout in the second half, the Horns were being outrebounded 30-18. They closed the gap, but most of it came after the outcome was all but figured out. … Kansas State finished with 19 assists on 26 field goals, the Longhorns finished with 7 on 23. … Texas had 11 more attempts at the free throw line than K-State and finished with one less make (19-of-33 to 20-of-22).
Story of the night: Texas isn’t a good basketball team, and don’t expect them to get good between now and the start of the Big 12 tournament in less than three short weeks. It would have been OK to lose to the 13th-ranked team in the country, but the way Texas lost gave absolutely no hope that it can somehow get things fixed in time to make a run through the conference tourney. The return of Kabongo has proven to have little actual impact on how the team plays. The offense isn’t running that much cleaner, guys aren’t getting more open shots, and most importantly, Texas is still losing in embarrassing fashion.
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