Tonight, the Texas Longhorns broke out their special gray jerseys against the Iowa State Cylones, and if you are a believer in superstition, perhaps the Horns may want to consider wearing them for the remainder of the season.
In Myck Kabongo‘s first game back from a 23-game suspension handed down by the NCAA for his accepting of illegal benefits, the Longhorns did something they haven’t been able to do all season long: FINISH. Prior to tonight’s match-up, Texas was 1-7 in games decided by six points or less or in games that went into overtime.
However, after falling behind in the last five minutes of regulation, they hit a last second three-pointer to force overtime–two of them. In the second overtime of the game, the Longhorns were finally able to close out a close one, despite being forced to do so with Kabongo on the bench with five fouls.
There is no doubt that he made the difference tonight, despite his fouling out in the first overtime. He pushes the tempo, is able to get into the lane and makes things happen for everyone else. Bottom line: he makes everyone on the team better when he is on the floor.
For a fan, this game was so much more enjoyable to watch than any other time the Longhorns have taken the floor all season. The offense played with a purpose. They ran the floor. They got good shots. They made things happen they’ve not been able to do all year long. And again, they closed it out.
Is Myck’s return enough to turn things around for the Longhorns? It’s probably too late for that, unfortunately, and Longhorn fans have to be asking themselves what could have been different had they had him all season long.
Nevertheless, fans were able to see what this team can do with Kabongo at the helm. If he decides to make the jump to the NBA at the end of the season, the Longhorns could be looking at another incredibly long season next year. However, if he decides to stay in Austin, this young team certainly has chance to make some noise next year.