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 fifth set of games in the Big 12 Conference, played on Jan. 13 (rankings in parenthesis in standings are AP).
|BIG 12 STANDINGS||Conf.||All|
|Texas Tech (8)||4-1||15-2|
|West Virginia (2)||4-1||15-2|
Saturday, Jan. 13
Kansas 73, Kansas State 72
Oklahoma 102, TCU 97 (OT)
Texas Tech 72, West Virginia 71
Iowa State 75, Baylor 65
Oklahoma State 65, Texas 64
NEXT GAMES (all times CST unless noted)
Monday, Jan. 15
Kansas at West Virginia, 8 p.m. EST (ESPN)
Oklahoma State at Baylor, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tuesday, Jan. 16
Oklahoma at Kansas State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Texas Tech at Texas, 7 p.m. (LHN)
Wednesday, Jan. 17
Iowa State at TCU, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
20-point games: 43 — Trae Young (Oklahoma); 30 — Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State); 28 — Jevon Carter (West Virginia); 23 — Devonte’ Graham (Kansas); 22 — Dean Wade (Kansas State), Brady Manek (OU); Jaylen Fisher (TCU); 21 — Vladimir Brodziansky (TCU); 20 — Keenan Evans (Texas Tech).
10-rebound games: 15 — Tristan Clark (Baylor); 12 — Solomon Young (ISU); 11 — Trae Young (OU), Sagaba Konate (WV); 10 — Mo Bamba (Texas)
5-assist games: 7 — Trae Young (OU); 6 — Barry Brown (KSU); 5 — Mark Vital (BU), Devonte’ Graham (KU), Jaylen Fisher (TCU), Matt Coleman (Texas), Darius Miles Jr. (WV).
4-block games: 5 — Udoka Azubuike (KU), Cameron Lard (ISU); 4 — Khadeem Lattin (OU).
Double-doubles: Tristan Clark (Baylor), 16 points, 15 rebounds; Solomon Young (ISU), 11 points, 12 rebounds; Nick Weiler-Babb (ISU), 15 points, 10 assists; Trae Young (Oklahoma), 43 points, 11 rebounds.
The Starting 5
Devonte’ Graham, Kansas: 23 points, five assists and near-perfect from the foul line (9-of-10). KU needed every bit of it.
Trae Young, Oklahoma: 43 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists (and 9 turnovers). But this didn’t feel like another day at the office.
Keenan Evans, Texas Tech: He had 20 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Plus, he was one of Tech’s few consistent shooters all afternoon.
Lindell Wigginton, Iowa State: He’s emerging as one of the great young players in this league because he’s doing it at a high level every game. He scored 30 vs. Baylor.
Jeffrey Carroll, Oklahoma State: Carroll kept the Cowboys in striking distance with 17 points until they could heat up from the field in the final six minutes.
Yes, no big men this week in the Starting Five. It wasn’t a good day for them this time around.
The Sixth Man
Brandone Francis, Texas Tech: Francis has 17 points off the bench, and many of them were huge as the Red Raiders upended the Mountaineers.
Wooden Midseason 25
The Wooden Award, given to the nation’s top player, trimmed its list of nominees to 25 and the Big 12 was well-represented. The list included Texas’ Mo Bamba, West Virginia’s Jevon Carter, Kansas’ Devonte’ Graham and Oklahoma’s Trae Young.
It’s time to see who are on the Wooden Award Midseason Top-25 watch lists for men’s and women’s player of the… http://t.co/XP0kAicrwd
— John R. Wooden Award (@WoodenAward) January 12, 2018
Before we begin: Three of Saturday’s games were decided by a point. A fourth went to overtime, the fifth time a Big 12 game has gone to overtime this season. TCU has played in three of them.
Texas Tech 72, West Virginia 71: The marquee game on the schedule on Saturday, It pitted the nation’s best full-court pressure defense in the Mountaineers against one of the best half-court defensive teams in the nation in Texas Tech. West Virginia won the first half. Texas Tech won the second half. Both had plenty at stake.
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) January 13, 2018
In fact, the Red Raiders were plain awful in the first half on turnovers (they committed 10) and 3-point shooting (1-of-7). The only thing that salvaged the half was the Red Raiders’ free-throw shooting (14-of-14). The Mountaineers were up 7 at the break, 38-31, as Jevon Carter was in the midst of his best offensive game in Big 12 play, scoring 15 of his game-high 28 points in the first half. Esa Ahmad, in his first game back from academic suspension, caught fire right away and ended the game with 18 points.
Tech continued to struggle early in the second half, but I thought the game started to turn after the under-12 timeout of the second half. West Virginia was up 7 and seemed in control. The Mountaineers came out of the timeout with a 2-3 halfcourt zone and I think that turned out to be a mistake. Zones in the half court are designed to make offensive teams passive. Tech was anything but. Davide Moretti fired off a 3-right away and nailed it. Then after a missed Mountaineers basket Keenan Evans, who finished with 20 points, slammed home a dunk. Suddenly the lead was cut to two. Ahmad made two free throws to push the lead back to four, but then Brandone Francis nailed another 3-point to cut it to one and then it was on. The Red Raiders ended up shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor and committed just 3 turnovers in the second half. That stretch after the under-12 timeout finally got them going.
The Mountaineers never had a lead of more than five points after that. Tech kept pushing and pushing and at one point the two teams just traded baskets like it was a backyard game. Francis hit a 3-pointer. Then Ahmad answered with his own. Tech’s Jarrett Culver’s layup was answered by Carter’s jumper.
It was Evans who, ultimately decided the outcome. Tech was up 2 with 1:22 left after Zhaire Smith missed his second free throw. West Virginia had a good chance to tie things up or take the lead. But Lamont West missed a 3-pointer for the Mountaineers and Tech’s Norense Odiase grabbed the rebound. With a chance to extend their lead the Red Raiders put the ball in Evans’ hands, who dribbled in the halfcourt looking for a shot. Again, West Virginia was in the 2-3 zone. Evans dribbled right, then came back left toward the key and tried to draw some contact from a Mountaineers defender, which led to an awkward 20-footer. He nailed it, giving Tech a 4-point lead. That would be enough to lead Tech to this moment.
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) January 13, 2018
West Virginia fans expressed their displeasure with the court-storming on Twitter, considering it was a game between two Top 10 teams. But who are we to say what a team’s fan base should storm the court for? The only requirement I have for a court-storming is don’t hurt anyone. Otherwise, you do you.
With Tech’s win, West Virginia’s loss, along with wins by Kansas and Oklahoma (we’ll hit those in a minute), the Big 12 is now knotted up at the top with four 4-1 teams. Of course, one of those teams will take a hit next Monday when West Virginia faces Kansas. Francis was a huge piece of this win for Texas Tech, especially in the second half. Francis gave the Red Raiders 26 minutes and 17 points. He sat out last season after transferring from Florida. This was his best game of the season and if he can maintain this level of play that’s a huge boost for the Red Raiders.
No shame in this loss for West Virginia. Road games are hard to win in the Big 12, especially as deep as this league is this year. I doubt either Tech or West Virginia will drop far in next Monday’s AP poll.
Oklahoma 102, TCU 97 (OT): I knew after I saw them in person the first time in Fort Worth that the rematch in Norman wasn’t going to disappoint and it didn’t. Trae Young exploded yet again for 43 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. His fellow freshman, Brady Manek, popped in 22 points, but that was it in terms of double figures for the Sooners. So this was one of those games where Young REALLY drove the bus for the Sooners, more so than usual. I mean, look at this.
Trae Young is the only major-conference player in the last 20 years with 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 3-pt FG in a single game. pic.twitter.com/RFTbStQ1fQ
— ESPN (@espn) January 13, 2018
So let’s get to it. Christian James gave OU a two-point lead with a 3-pointer with nine seconds left in the game. Inexplicably, the Sooners allowed TCU’s Jaylen Fisher to drive to the basket practically uncontested after a timeout. Unlike his layup against Texas on Wednesday, Fisher made this one to send the game to overtime. OU grabbed the lead for good in overtime on a pair of free throws by Kristian Doolittle. Young hit his last 3-pointer to give OU a 5-point lead with 2:06 left in OT and TCU was never able to crawl completely back.
Fisher scored 22 points for TCU. Vladimir Brodziansky scored 21 points for TCU. Perhaps the biggest plus for OU in this game was holding Kenrich Williams to 12 points. This fall is inexplicable for the Horned Frogs, who have now lost four league games by a combined 11 points, with two of them coming in overtime (the one victory, over Baylor, also came in overtime). I think some of that desperation was reflected in the changes head coach Jamie Dixon made to the starting lineup, inserting Alex Robinson and Kouat Noi for Desmond Bane and J.D. Miller, respectively. Bane was battling a hip injury, but he played. The Horned Frogs face a pivotal week against Iowa State and Kansas State, two games they have the talent to win — and need to win — before hosting West Virginia on Jan. 22.
Oh, and TCU has never won in Norman. The Horned Frogs are now 0-11 all-time.
Kansas 73, Kansas State 72: This game was as evenly matched as you can get. Statistically they were practically a carbon copy of one another. So, naturally, it came down to the wire. The two teams were deadlocked at 64 at the under-4 timeout. The game turned with two minutes to play as K-State guard Barry Brown drove to the basket, scored and drew a foul. Brown made the layup to give K-State a 1-point lead, 70-69, with 1:57 left. This would effectively end any shot at overtime as the final two minutes developed.
On the other end Kansas regained the lead on an Udoka Azubuike dunk (part of his 18 points and 8 rebounds). Then came the turnovers. K-State’s Cartier Diarra (18 points), who had another big game for the Wildcats in place of the injured Kamau Stokes, drove to the basket and lost the ball trying to do an up-and-under move to the basket. At first the ball was called out on Kansas, but replay clearly showed it went out of bounds off Diarra. So Kansas ball. But it didn’t last long as Azubuike ended up in a tie-ball situation with K-State’s Dean Wade (a Wildcats-leading 22 points) and KSU got the ball back with 53 seconds left.
Brown drove to the paint and missed a layup, Xavier Sneed (14 points) rebounded the miss and tried to put it back but drew a foul from Kansas’ Lagerald Vick (10 points). Brown made both free throws to give the Wildcats a 72-71 lead with 28 seconds left. Kansas responded with a drive by Malik Newman (7 points) as he drew a foul from K-State’s Makol Mawien. Newman made both free throws to give the Jayhawks a 73-72 lead with 15 seconds left. So K-State still had a chance to win after all of that. And this is what they ended up with?
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) January 13, 2018
I don’t think that’s how head coach Bruce Weber drew it up. Wade was out of position for the pick necessary to free up Brown to the right side after the rest of the offense had cleared out. By the time he was in position the Jayhawks knew what was up. Brown wasn’t aggressive with the ball, either. I get putting the ball in Brown’s hands late. He was coming off a career game earlier this week. But he also had just 12 points vs. Kansas, while Wade and Cartier had been more potent offensive options in the game. Down a point, that’s not the shot you should end up with. K-State missed a legit shot to hand Kansas its second Big 12 loss this season.
Along with the win, the Jayhawks got some big news. Freshman forward Silvio De Sousa received his clearance to begin playing for Kansas, according to ESPN.com. The 6-foot-9 forward who was at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, reported to Kansas in December after completing his education and missed the first four games of Big 12 action waiting for the NCAA to clear him. That happened early Saturday and that allowed De Sousa to play four minutes against K-State. Expect him to play a bit more against West Virginia on Monday as the Jayhawks figure out how to get him into their rotation. The Jayhawks are still waiting to see if their other freshman, forward Billy Preston, will be ruled eligible by the NCAA.
Iowa State 75, Baylor 65: For the second straight game the Cyclones had two players with double-doubles — forward Solomon Young and guard Nick Weiler-Babb (Weiler-Babb has now had double-doubles in both of those games). But this time it led the Cyclones to a win, their first in Big 12 play. Lindell Wigginton fueled the victory with 30 points. Baylor fell behind at halftime by 7 points, but freshman Tristan Clark helped get them back in the game with a double-double of his own (16 points, 15 rebounds). In fact, Baylor got itself in the lead after the under-8 timeout of the second half. But ISU slowly pulled away. Two free throws each from Wigginton and Weiler-Babb put the Cyclones in the lead, 57-56. Then Wigginton’s 3-pointer with 6:09 left gave the Cyclones a four-point lead and they never trailed again. This was a game between a pair of desperate teams at the bottom of the Big 12 standings and the Cyclones were grateful to get their first win.
To outsiders this Iowa State team is struggling. But when you watch them it’s clear they’re a highly-competitive team in this league. The Cyclones probably won’t make the NCAA Tournament, but I’m hoping they manage an NIT berth because the future of this team is really bright. Yes, they’re going to lose Donovan Jackson at the end of this season, but Wiggington is a freshman, Lard is a redshirt freshman, Weiler-Babb is a junior and Young is a sophomore. That’s your core four in Ames, Iowa, next season and there are some intriguing possibilities.
Baylor, meanwhile, has some real issues right now. This is not the Scott Drew teams we’re used to seeing. The unit just isn’t clicking and the Bears’ 4-of-18 clip from the 3-point line didn’t help a bit. The improvement of Clark is a real plus, but the Bears need him to give that to them consistently. Plus, someone threw a lemon at Drew. That’s not Hilton Magic, people.
Oklahoma State 65, Texas 64: Here was a game between a pair of teams trying to find some better offensive footing in Big 12 action. But, first, some respect from Oklahoma State for Texas guard Andrew Jones, who is now fighting leukemia.
— Texas Basketball (@TexasMBB) January 13, 2018
Now, as to the game, the Cowboys received a nice gift when Tavarius Shine returned from wrist injuries suffered two games ago. He didn’t start, but he played 25 minutes off the bench and while only 5 points, two of those points were HUGE and we’ll get to that. That meant Brandon Averette started and he provided 11 points. The Cowboys didn’t have a 20-point scorer in this one, but they had balance and that helped toward the end of this one, especially after falling behind by 7 points at halftime.
Did you know that with 5:55 left in the game the Longhorns were up 12 points, 62-50? They were totally in control. Eric Davis Jr. had, again, given Texas a huge boost off the bench with 18 points. Dylan Osetkowski and Mo Bamba combined for 21 points and 19 rebounds. Matt Coleman was running a capable point. So what on earth happened? The Cowboys started driving to the basket and drawing fouls and that got their shooting touch going. Jeffrey Carroll (17 points) had a 3-point play on a drive and a foul by Bamba. Averette then drew a foul and made two free throws. Carroll scored on a layup, Lindy Waters III hit a jumper and suddenly the Cowboys were down three with 4:17 left. Averette then made two more free throws and Shine hit a jumper to give OSU a 1-point lead with 3:12 left. It took the Cowboys about two-and-a-half minutes to change the game.
It took Shine to win it, a layup with six seconds remaining to end a near-two-minute scoring drought by both teams. It was a huge win for Oklahoma State, which has played tight games in each of its first five league contests. As for Texas, its scoring troubles reared its ugly head late in the game. Texas scored three points in the final six minutes. This was Texas’ game to win and it didn’t.
Kansas had lost all three of its games this season trailing at the five-minute mark before the Kansas State game. With the win, Kansas avoided a third loss in a season at Allen Fieldhouse since the 1998-99 season. … West Virginia saw its Division-I leading 15-game win streak come to an end with the loss to Tech. … Texas Tech, with the win, remains undefeated at home this season (12-0). Also, Tech’s win was its fifth over a team ranked in the AP Top 25 this season, the first time that’s happened in program history. … OU’s Khadeem Lattin passed Wayman Tisdale for No. 3 on the Sooners’ all-time list for blocked shots. He had four in the game.
Injuries: Texas Tech’s Zach Smith remained a DNP due to a foot injury, which kept him out of the Oklahoma game. After the game head coach Chris Beard said Smith had a broken foot that is likely to keep him out for several weeks. … Kansas State’s Kamau Stokes did not play vs Kansas with a foot injury. He remains out indefinitely.
Looking ahead to Game 6 of conference play: Big Monday is the big draw as West Virginia hosts Kansas in Morgantown. If you’re looking for some desperation fun, Iowa State is at TCU on Wednesday. Both teams need a win to get to two wins in Big 12 action.