Longhorn Men's Basketball

Texas Men’s Basketball Loses In Big 12 Quarterfinal

Texas Men’s Basketball Loses In Big 12 Quarterfinal

Despite Jacob Young’s best efforts, The Texas Longhorns (19-14, 8-10 Big 12) fell Thursday night 73-69 to the Texas Tech Red Raiders (24-8, 11-7 Big 12) in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship.

The sophomore guard scored the most points by a Longhorn player this season, scoring 29 and knocking down 6 three-pointers. Young’s efforts came up just short, as Texas was unable to overcome a poor start to the game that saw Texas start 0-9 from the field and take over 5 minutes to score.

To try to ignite the team after the lackluster start, Shaka Smart inserted Mohamed Bamba off the bench, his first game back after missing three with a toe injury. Bamba played just 14 minutes, scoring 10 points and 4 rebounds.

Bamba’s presence may have been felt the most when he hit a crucial three-pointer to put Texas within 7 at the half, after being down by double digits for most of the game. The momentum carried over, as Texas was able to cut the Tech lead down to just one point in the second half.

Texas never was able to take the lead though, as Texas Tech’s motion offense caused fits for Texas defensively, leading to open shots for the Red Raiders throughout the game.

Zhaire Smith shined for the Red Raiders in the second half when he blocked Kerwin Roach on what appeared to be a breakaway basket. Smith had 8 points and 5 rebounds to go with two blocks. Keenan Evans led Texas Tech in scoring with 25 points.

Texas appeared to have life with 40 seconds left in the game when a Kerwin Roach steal gave Texas the ball down 5, but a Jacob Young floater went halfway done and then came back out and ended in the hands of Texas Tech to put an end to Texas’s comeback efforts.

Three Takeaways

  1. Jacob Young can ball. A J’Covan Brown against Kansas type of effort from Young led the Longhorns back into this basketball game. Whether it was hitting key threes, or throwing an alley-oop to Mo Bamba, Jacob Young was all over this game, with his best performance of his time on the Forty Acres.
  2. The way Texas started this game it looked like there was something at South by Southwest they wanted to see Friday night instead of play in the next round of the tournament. If Texas gets a bid to the NCAA tournament they must find a way to start the game with a sense of urgency instead of playing catch up the entire game.
  3. Mohamed Bamba never quite looked fully comfortable throughout the game, grimacing when coming down after rebounds. While it was clear Bamba wanted to play longer than 14 minutes, Shaka wasn’t ready to leave the future lottery pick out there for longer.

Up Next: Now Texas waits for Sunday Night at 5 pm CT when the 68 tournament teams are announced for the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Texas sits squarely on the bubble and tonight the bubble got even smaller as Southern Miss upset the top team of Conference USA, Middle Tennessee State. That upset now means the C-USA is a two-team league, which takes an at-large bid away from a bubble team. It’s going to be a nervous couple of days for the Longhorns. You can see the bracket reveal on TBS.

adam wagner

March 9th, 2018

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