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The Wrap Up: Big 12 Basketball Game 4 Recap and Analysis

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Oklahoma

With eighteen games on the Big 12 men’s basketball slate we’ll break down each set of games upon completion. Today it’s a review of the fourth set of games in the Big 12 Conference, played on Jan. 9-10 (rankings in parenthesis in standings are AP).

BIG 12 STANDINGS Conf All
West Virginia (2) 4-0 15-1
Texas Tech (8) 3-1 14-2
Oklahoma (9) 3-1 13-2
Kansas (12) 3-1 13-3
Kansas State 2-2 12-4
Texas 2-2 11-5
TCU (16) 1-3 13-3
Baylor 1-3 11-5
Oklahoma State 1-3 11-5
Iowa State 0-4 9-6

 

Results

 

Tuesday, Jan. 8

Oklahoma 75, Texas Tech 65
West Virginia 57, Baylor 54
Kansas 83, Iowa State 78

Wednesday, Jan. 9
Kansas State 86, Oklahoma State 82
Texas 99, TCU 98 (2OT)

Next games (all times CST unless noted)

Saturday, Jan. 13
Kansas State at Kansas, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
TCU at Oklahoma, noon (ESPNU)
West Virginia at Texas Tech, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Baylor at Iowa State, 2 p.m. (ESPNews)
Texas at Oklahoma State, 4 p.m. (ESPNews)

Superlatives

20-point games: 38 — Barry Brown (Kansas State); 27 — Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State), Malik Newman (Kansas), Trae Young (Oklahoma); 26 — Kenrich Williams (TCU); 23 — Sviatoslav Myhailiuk (Kansas); 22 — Brandon Averette (Oklahoma State), Eric Davis Jr. (Texas); 20 — Donovan Jackson (ISU), Jeffrey Carroll (OSU), Dylan Osetkowski (Texas).

10-rebound games: 12 — Xavier Sneed (KSU), Sagaba Konate (West Virginia); 10 — Jo Lual-Acuil (Baylor), Cameron Lard (ISU), Nick Weiler-Babb (ISU), Mitchell Solomon (OSU).
5-assist games: 12 — Matt Coleman (Texas); 9 — Devonte’ Graham (KU), Trae Young (OU), Alex Robinson (TCU); 8 — Nick Weiler-Babb (ISU); 6 — Brandon Averette (OSU), Jaylen Fisher (TCU); 5 — Jevon Carter (WV); Daxter Miles Jr. (WV)
4-block games: 7 — Khadeem Lattin (OU), Sagaba Konate (WV); 5 — Jo Lual-Acuil (BU), Mo Bamba (Texas); 4 — Udoka Azubuike (KU).
4-steal games: 6 — Barry Brown (KSU); 4 — Devonte’ Graham (KU), Trae Young (OU);
Double-doubles: Jo Lual-Acuil (BU), 11 points, 10 rebounds), Cameron Lard (ISU), 15 points, 10 rebounds, Nick Weiler-Babb (ISU), 13 points, 10 rebounds, Xavier Sneed (KSU), 11 points, 12 rebounds, Matt Coleman (Texas), 17 points, 12 assists.

Radio alert: I was a guest on the Brandon Lowe Show on Wednesday to talk about West Virginia basketball and the rest of the Big 12 Conference. Brandon’s show can be heard on WBES 95.5 FM in Charleston, West Virginia. If you missed it, here’s the link.

Podcast alert: I was also a guest on the Heartland College Sports weekly radio show, which can also be heard in podcast format. Host Pete Mundo and I talked about the Big 12 Conference basketball race. If you missed it, here’s a link.

 

The Starting 5

Trae Young, Oklahoma: Young led a bounce-back win for the Sooners, scoring 27 points, dishing 9 assists and forcing 4 steals.
Sagaba Konate, West Virginia: In a gritty, low-scoring game he played a huge role for the Mountaineers — 8 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 7 blocks.
Barry Brown, Kansas State: 38 points and 6 steals. Brown set a career high in points as he picked up the slack for the injured Kamau Stokes.
Matt Coleman, Texas: On an emotional night for the Longhorns, it was Coleman who stepped up and paid big dividends with a double-double (17 points and 12 assists) in an OT win.
Sviatoslav Myhailiuk, Kansas: He finished with 23 points and set the tone for the Jayhawks in the first half of their win over Iowa State.
THE SIXTH MAN
Malik Newman, Kansas: 27 points in 34 minutes off the bench? Yep, that’ll do. Note that it was a crowded field this week, with Oklahoma State’s Brandon Averette and Texas’ Eric Davis Jr. both having great games off the bench.

The Games

No. 9. Oklahoma 75, No. 8 Texas Tech 65: I’m sure Texas Tech had hoped to go into Saturday’s showdown with West Virginia undefeated in Big 12 play, but it wasn’t to be. The Red Raiders, the Big 12’s best defense, held the Sooners to a season low in points (the Sooners led the nation in points per game with 94.4 ppg entering the game). That shows you just how tough the Red Raiders’ halfcourt defense is. Yet, OU freshman guard Trae Young got his after a slow start (just 5 points in the first half). He finished with 27 points, 9 assists and 4 steals. His assists, along with his turnovers, was key for the Sooners. He only dished out five assists in Saturday’s loss to West Virginia. Plus, after three straight Big 12 games with six or more turnovers, he only had four turnovers against the Red Raiders. Young is facing more formidable defenses, and in the last two games he’s been frustrated in the first half. But in the second half of games against West Virginia and Texas Tech, he adjusted and rebounded to have an impact. That’s a key growth point for a young player as relied up as Young is by the Sooners. Khadeem Lattin defended the paint for OU with seven blocked shots as well as scoring 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Christian James added 15 points.

Oh, and Young is still doing incredible things, despite facing some great defensive players in Big 12 play.


For Texas Tech, the biggest problem was shooting, especially in the second half. The Red Raiders shot 37.3 percent from the floor, but only 24 percent from the 3-point line and 64 percent from the free-throw line. The worm started turning toward the end of the first half as OU stepped up its defensive intensity, started forcing turnovers (Tech had 15 for the game) and scored in transition, which pushed the pace. Missing Zach Smith to injury didn’t help either. Texas Tech’s only player in double figures was their veteran, Keenan Evans, as the senior had 19 points. For one, the Red Raiders’ young stars had some issues on the offensive side of the floor and without that support, the Red Raiders suffered their first loss. Plus, as good as Texas Tech’s defense was, it only forced 10 turnovers. The Sooners learned something from their experience against West Virginia and handled the defensive pressure better on Tuesday.

No. 2 West Virginia 57, Baylor 54: It started out as what I would consider a classic letdown game for the Mountaineers, as they were coming off that huge win over Oklahoma and they were preparing for that road trip to Lubbock, Texas, to face No. 8 Texas Tech on Saturday. Plus, West Virginia is getting some good press.


Oh, and they’ve impressed Bill Raftery, too. Onions!


But there was more to it than just a letdown. Baylor’s zone has a tendency to make opposing offenses passive and that happened at times to the Mountaineers. But Baylor also mixed man-to-man pressure to try and keep the Mountaineers off-balance, and I think those factors helped hold West Virginia to 31.1 percent shooting. West Virginia freshman sixth man phenom Teddy Allen didn’t score and, more importantly, only played five minutes due to foul trouble (he was called for four fouls in his five minutes). In fact, head coach Bob Huggins shortened his rotation, as four players went 30 or more minutes, including guard Jevon Carter, who didn’t get a single break and played all 40 minutes. It was just a sluggish game all the way around, and yet the Mountaineers won, which is what great teams do. Both Lamont West and Daxter Miles Jr. had 12 points, Carter and Miles had 5 assists each while Sagaba Konate had 12 rebounds and 7 blocks.

It was Konate’s layup that broke an 0-for-9 spell for WVU coming out of the under-4 timeout in the second half to break a 49-49 tie. Baylor’s Manu Lecomte tied it up with two free throws a minute later. With 54 seconds left Carter — who had a sub-par night shooting — nailed a 3-pointer to give the Mountaineers the lead for good. West Virginia just had to gut this one out. Baylor had a chance to tie it and send it to overtime but Lecomte missed a 3-pointer.

In the end, West Virginia’s defense finally did get to Baylor, as the Bears finished the game with 21 turnovers. That negated the Bears’ eight-rebound advantage on the glass. Baylor didn’t shoot much better than West Virginia (just 35.8 percent from the floor), either. Jo Lual-Acuil had a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) and guard Manu Lecomte had 13 points and 6 rebounds. But the Bears had just 11 assists (Lecomte only had two), continuing a trend of this Bears team not being able to set one another up consistently.

No. 12 Kansas 83, Iowa State 78: Sviatoslav Myhailiuk was a force from the 3-point line for Kansas, hitting six of them as he finished with 23 points. But it was the surge by Malik Newman off KU’s bench that was most welcome. The Jayhawks have a bench problem right now and Newman had scored 10 points combined in his last two games. But he exploded for 27 points off the bench to bolster the Jayhawks, and they sorely needed it.

Iowa State must have felt like hard-luck losers in this one. Four players hit double figures, including guard Donovan Jackson and his 20 points. Freshman Lindell Wigginton had a team-high 27. Plus, the Cyclones had two players with double-doubles — Cameron Lard with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Neil Weiler-Babb with 13 points and 10 assists. Two more assists for Weiler-Babb and it would have been a triple-double. Under the radar, Weiler-Babb is having a whale of a season.


Defensively the Cyclones held guard Devonte’ Graham to 11 points. So how did they lose this game, especially when you consider that the Cyclones have four wins in Allen Fieldhouse since the inception of the Big 12? Graham and a stifling KU defensive performance down the stretch. Graham broke a 73-73 tie with a layup with 3:31 left to play and that sparked a 9-0 run to put the game on ice. Iowa State also had three turnovers in that final stretch, part of their 17 turnovers for the game.

Kansas State 86, Oklahoma State 82: Out of necessity the Wildcats started Cartier Diarra at guard in place of the injured Kamau Stokes. It worked out handsomely. Diarra scored 17 points and handed our 4 assists. He’s not the distributor Stokes is, but his performance gave the Wildcats a real boost. I think Stokes’ absence is one of the reasons forward Dean Wade only had 10 points in this one. But the Wildcats ended the game with four players scoring double figures, with four of them playing at least 33 minutes. So depth is still an issue with the Wildcats. But the success of Diarra allows the Wildcats to use him more when Stokes returns. Only problem is we don’t know when that will be due to his ankle injury.

But it was Barry Brown who carried the Wildcats on his back with a career-high 38 points along with 6 assists. He made up for the scoring lost from Stokes and then some. And, yet, it was a close game down to the end. The Cowboys started the game 2-of-12 shooting and fell behind double digits, but rebounded with 10-21 shooting the rest of the first half to take a one-point lead into the locker room. Without Tavarius Shine — OSU’s second-leading scorer sat out with wrist injuries — it took the Cowboys some time to figure out where the scoring would come from. Some of that came from an expected source in guard Jeffrey Carroll, who had 20 points. The rest came from an unlikely source, backup guard Brandon Averette, who had 22 points and 6 assists off the bench in 28 minutes. At times the Wildcats couldn’t stop him. The Cowboys were near perfect from the free throw line (21-of-22) and they outrebounded the Wildcats by nine. Still, they allowed KSU to get a double-digit lead in the second half and, despite some creative play down the stretch to extend the game, they could only cut it to four by game’s end. Say this about Mike Boynton’s bunch — they’re resilient.

Texas 99, TCU 98 (2OT): First, the serious stuff.


We all wish Jones a speedy recovery. From a basketball standpoint losing Jones, the Longhorns’ leading scorer, is a huge hit. The Longhorns will probably need a bit to figure things out. But a home win in double-overtime over TCU? That’s a huge boost to their season.

Matt Coleman scored 17 points and dished out 12 assists. Eric Davis Jr. continued his fine play from the bench with 22 points. Jase Febres remained the starter in place of Jones and scored 8 points. I’m not sure I’d anticipate head coach Shaka Smart making a lineup change yet, but I wonder how Davis might fare in the starting lineup. We’ll see If that becomes something Smart will consider. But he’s going to have to find more bodies to bring off the bench because Texas had six players with 30 or more minutes and only used seven. The Longhorns won’t be able to sustain that.

The shame is Texas controlled this game much of the way but let TCU back in after putting the Horned Frogs down by double-digits. Vladimir Brodziansky sent the game to overtime with a layup with 10 second left. And then Brodziansky did it again with a second to play in the first overtime. Texas finally put them away with a Jericho Smith free throw with five seconds left in the second overtime to give Texas a one-point lead. Jaylen Fisher missed a layup that would have given TCU the win.

So, is there something wrong with the Horned Frogs at this point? Well, they’re losing close games. They’ve now lost three league games by a total of six points. They’re seven points away from being undefeated. Head coach Jamie Dixon talked about closing out games being an issue last year, and that appears to be a problem again this year. The Horned Frogs have the pieces to compete with anyone in the league. But they’re not winning the big moments. Brodziansky had 19 points, guard Kenrich Williams had 26 points and 8 rebounds and the point guard combination of Fisher and Alex Robinson combined for 27 points and 15 assists. After four games the Horned Frogs’ chances of winning the Big 12 have nearly slipped away.

Leftovers

Texas Tech’s 3-0 start was its first 3-0 start in Big 12 action since 2004. Its No. 8 ranking is its highest since March of 1996. … Oklahoma’s Khadeem Lattin recorded his 200th career block. … Oklahoma G Trae Young played against his father Rayford’s alma mater for the first time. Rayford Young played for Texas Tech from 1996-2000. The Youngs are the first father-and-son combination to play in the Big 12 Conference, per ESPN. Young also extended his OU record of consecutive 20-point games to 14 games and he now needs three assists to break OU’s freshman record for assists in a season. … West Virginia’s No. 2 AP ranking is its highest since Dec. 29, 1959. That team included College Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West. … West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate’s 7 blocks was a new career high. … Kansas has won four of its last seven games vs. Iowa State. … West Virginia’s second-leading scorer of a season ago, Esa Ahmad, is expected to return Saturday against Texas Tech after missing the first half of the season due to academics. … Kansas State played freshman guard Mike McGuirl for 3 minutes vs. Oklahoma State. That is significant in that McGuirl had been redshirted, but KSU needed additional depth on the bench with Kamau Stokes out. … The margin of victory or loss in TCU’s first four league games has been by a grand total of nine points. … Four of the Big 12’s first 20 league games have been decided in overtime. The Texas-TCU game was the league’s first double-overtime game of the season. … Per Mark Cooper of the Tulsa World, the Cowboys have given up at least 27 points to three of the Big 12’s best guards — OU’s Trae Young (27), Iowa State’s Donovan Jackson (30) and Kansas State’s Barry Brown (38).

Injuries

Texas Tech’s Zach Smith did not play due to a foot injury. … West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate rolled his left ankle in the first half going up for a rebound and left the game for treatment. He returned to play 31 minutes vs. Baylor. … Kansas State’s Kamau Stokes missed the game vs. Oklahoma State with a foot injury. His timetable to return is not clear. … Texas G Andrew Jones is out indefinitely as he undergoes treatment for leukemia. … The health of Oklahoma State C Mitchell Solomon is worth monitoring after he appeared to suffer a lower leg injury late against Kansas State. … Oklahoma State’s Tavarius Shine did not play due to injuries to both of his wrists. His timetable to return is unclear.

Looking ahead to Game 5 of conference play: The West Virginia-Texas Tech game looms large as a battle of Top 10 teams that play great defense. TCU tries to get a little revenge on Oklahoma on the road, while Kansas and Kansas State play their first Sunflower State showdown of the Big 12 season.

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