After numerous steady victories against several ranked conference opponents, the Kansas Jayhawks had yet another to face today in the surging Texas Longhorns. Among the starters for KU, getting national publicity is the constantly impressive Joel Embiid. Today, Embiid faced the toughest matchup of his fledgling career in Austin. His results were, for once, uninspiring.
The headline-grabbing matchup between KU phenom Joel Embiid and the emerging Cameron Ridley made a big impact, but was ultimately overshadowed by an impressive offensive performance from Isaiah Taylor and an upset victory for a team on the rise. Texas fought their way into the Top 25 this week for the first time since the 2010-11 season, and this win against an insanely talented KU squad should keep them there for the foreseeable future.
Cameron Ridley is only 6-foot-9, but his nearly 300 pound presence under the bucket had a noteworthy influence on Embiid’s game, not to mention the traditional duo of two big men that Texas used to great effect. Fresh off Big 12 Player of the Week honors and a career-high 14 rebound performance against the Baylor Bears on January 25, Ridley severely limited Embiid’s offensive game.
Embiid finished the night with eight points after shooting 3-9 from the floor. Ridley’s ability to anchor the center of the court allowed others like Taylor and Jonathan Holmes to score at will, which led Texas to a surprising and comfortable victory.
The impact that KU’s much-hyped Andrew Wiggins had on the game was remarkably negative. Wiggins went 0-9 until scoring his first field goal of the game just before the 12-minute mark in the second half.
So, as the rest of the Big 12 just noticed, KU is still green and Texas’s toughness could put them on the verge of consistent success. Predicting how the still-inexperienced Kansas freshmen will react to their most embarrassing loss so far is difficult, especially with Wiggins — in the three games this season following a single-digit scoring performance from Wiggins, he’s shot 10-16, 7-16 and 4-14.