Despite out rebounding Iowa State 35-25 last night, the Longhorns still came up short in their conference opener against the Cyclones, losing 77-71.
Texas was down 10 at half, and got the Cyclones lead down to 74-71 late in the game, but that’s as close as they would get.
Iowa State was lead by Chris Baab, who had 17 points, shooting 5 for 9 from 3-point range. He was one of five Cyclones in double figures Wednesday night, and they frustrated the Longhorns all night. They shot 65% from the field in the first half, and ended a five-year drought of losing conference openers.
Texas got in foul trouble in the 2nd half, with Julien Lewis, Jaylen Bond, and Jonathan Holmes all fouling out before everything was said and done. J’Covan Brown also left the game midway through the 2nd half with an apparent right ankle injury. Hopefully this isn’t too serious, as it would cause an even bigger uphill climb as the season continues.
Texas did have a couple bright spots Wednesday, with a standout performance from senior center, Clint Chapman, who led all Longhorns with a career high 19 points and 14 rebounds, giving his best performance of his career thus far. The Longhorns will need more games like this out of him, as they get deeper into conference play.
Other Longhorns players that had a significant impact on the game were J’Covan Brown with 19 points before getting injured, and Sheldon McClellan with 14 points. McClellan easily outshined the rest of the freshman, who seemed to struggle most of the night. Myck Kabongo only contributed with seven points and five assists, while Jonathan Holmes and Julien Lewis each tacked on five points before fouling out.
Jaylen Bond struggled as well going scoreless, and recording four rebounds in his 11 minutes of time before he fouled out as well.
If Brown is out for any significant amount of time, Texas will need the other freshman to step up and carry the weight in a big way.
There’s no replacing what Brown brings to the floor each night, but with a great team effort, they can get the job done if they continue to work together.
This was Texas’ 2nd conference opening loss in the past 14 seasons, so it’s something Rick Barnes and some of the upperclassmen aren’t used too, but they’ll work hard to get these issues corrected and hopefully turn it around on Saturday, when they take on Oklahoma State at the Frank Erwin Center.