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 tenth set of games in the Big 12 Conference, played on Feb. 3 (rankings in parenthesis in standings are AP).
|BIG 12 STANDINGS||Conf.||All|
|Texas Tech (10)||7-3||19-4|
|West Virginia (15)||6-4||17-6|
Saturday, Feb. 3
Oklahoma State 74, Kansas 69
Texas Tech 83, TCU 71
Texas 79, Oklahoma 74
West Virginia 89, Kansas State 51
Baylor 81, Iowa State 67
Next games (all times CST unless noted)
Monday, Feb. 5
West Virginia at Oklahoma, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 6
Baylor at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m.
TCU at Kansas, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 7
Kansas State at Texas, 7 p.m.
Iowa State at Texas Tech, 8 p.m.
20-point games: 24 — Kendall Smith (Oklahoma State); 23 — Terry Maston (Baylor); 22 — Matt Colemand20 — Udoka Azubuike (Kansas), Cameron McGriff (OSU), Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech).
10-rebound games: 14 — Jo Lual-Acuil (Baylor); 13 — Kenrich Williams (TCU),
5-assist games: 14 — Trae Young (Oklahoma); 11 — Jevon Carter (West Virginia); 8 — Devonte’ Graham (Kansas), Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State); 6 — Alex Robinson (TCU), Keenan Evans (TTU); 5 — Kendall Smith (OSU), Kenrich Williams (TCU)
4-block games: 4 — Jo Lual-Acuil (BU), Cameron Lard (ISU), Zhaire Smith (TTU).
4-steal games: None
Double-doubles: Jo-Lual Acuil (BU), 10 points, 14 rebounds; Trae Young (OU), 19 points, 14 assists; Kenrich Williams (TCU), 12 points, 13 rebounds.
The Starting Five
Jo Lual-Acuil, Baylor: 10 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks for the Bears, who upended Iowa State in a win that was much-needed.
James Bolden, West Virginia: A fine first career start in place of Daxter Miles Jr., as Bolden hit three 3-pointers, scored 13 points and played exceptional defense.
Matt Coleman, Texas: The guard is the X-factor for this Longhorns team. When he’s on they’re really good, as his 22 points in their win over Oklahoma can attest.
Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech: Culver had a consistent contest, missing just two shots overall on his way to 20 points.
Cameron McGriff, Oklahoma State: Inserted into the starting lineup, McGriff’s energy brought the Cowboys 20 points, 9 rebounds and a rare win in Lawrence, Kansas.
The Sixth Man
Terry Maston, Baylor: Let’s not overthink it. Maston came off the bench to drop 23 points for the Bears in a win that could prove valuable to getting them into postseason play beyond the Big 12.
Oklahoma State 74, Kansas 69: This turned out to be the most important game of the day and, in full disclosure, the one game I didn’t get to watch (I forgot to record it). Oklahoma State’s best win of the season was a huge boost for first-year head coach Mike Boynton, who is fighting to keep these Cowboys in the mix for postseason action, most likely the NIT.
A loss at Allen Fieldhouse, of course, is a huge deal as it’s one of the best home-court advantages in college basketball. But this year is turning into an anomaly for the Jayhawks.
Kansas has now lost 3 games at Allen Fieldhouse in a season for the 1st time since 1998-99… Today was Bill Self’s 13th loss at Allen Fieldhouse in 15 seasons at Kansas, matching his 13 (consecutive) conference titles pic.twitter.com/a2fWbj3VgI
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 3, 2018
In my Game 9 rewind I suggested that it may be time for Boynton to put Cameron McGriff in the starting lineup after his energetic effort against TCU. Well, look what happened? McGriff started against Kansas and it was a prescient move on Boynton’s part. He slid McGriff into Yankuba Sima’s place in the lineup and McGriff produced 20 points and 9 rebounds in 38 minutes. The Cowboys got more energy and more scoring as four players ended up in double figure, including Kendall Smith’s season-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting.
In fact, aside from the injection of energy from McGriff, Oklahoma State’s shooting was a big key in this one, as the Cowboys were 51.6 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent from the 3-point line. Kansas shot 46.7/36.4 and the latter percentage from the 3-point line was a key factor in this loss. Kansas is living and dying by the 3-pointer this season and Saturday they died because of it. The key factor was Svi Mykhailiuk, the usually reliable 3-point shooter who entered the game with one of the nation’s best percentages from the arc. He was 2-of-9 on Saturday and while he finished with 17 points he wasn’t his dangerous self from outside.
McGriff and Carroll (15 points, four 3-pointers) were the sparks in the first half that set off a 32-21 run for the Cowboys in the final 12:13 to allow the Cowboys to push to a 46-33 lead. McGriff kicked in a 3-pointer to push OSU’s lead to five points, and then Carroll’s 3-pointer right after that pushed the lead to eight.
In the second half the Cowboys just had to fend off the Jayhawks’ persistent rallies. Kansas cut it to 7 on a Malik Newman (16 points) 3-pointer with 16:18 left, but the Cowboys eased back out to double digits. Devonte’ Graham (17 points, 8 assists) cut it to seven again on a layup with 6:25 left. Graham chipped it down to 3 points in the final minute with a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left and a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left. But Smith iced it with two free throws with 10 seconds left.
Udoka Azubuike led Kansas with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, along with a 4-of-7 game from the free throw line, which is a step forward for him at the stripe.
This was a great win for Oklahoma State. For Kansas the loss dropped the Jayhawks into a tie for the Big 12 lead with the winner of the game HeartlandCollegeSports.com covered in person on Saturday afternoon.
Texas Tech 83, TCU 71: I was at this one on behalf of HCS, and the game was not as close as the score indicated. TCU was down 24 points at the break. I ended up writing about Tech head coach Chris Beard and the winning mentality he’s trying to build in Lubbock. The words “humble” and “confident” are not mutually exclusive for the Red Raiders.
— Heartland College Sports (@Heartland_CS) February 4, 2018
As for the game, at one point in the first half Texas Tech was on an 18-0 run. Jarrett Culver scored 20 points and their leading scorer, Keenan Evans, had 17, but didn’t take a shot until 14 minutes into the game. The Red Raiders had an inspired defensive effort too, creating 17 turnovers.
After the game TCU head coach Jamie Dixon said the Horned Frogs “got what they deserved.” They’re not a consistent team right now. They can score a lot of points but they’re not consistent on defense and don’t have a solid rim protector. Dixon knows it, his team knows it and they’re still trying to figure out what to do about it in Big 12 play. Vladimir Brodziansky led the Horned Frogs with 18 points. Kenrich Williams had another double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
West Virginia 81, Kansas State 51: So, let’s start with this from West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins, a quote after Wednesday’s loss to Iowa State: “These guys have single-handedly destroyed ‘Press Virginia.’ We can’t guard anybody.”
He was talking about his players. HIS players. Those are strong words from any head coach. But Huggins needed to shake his team a little bit. Their last two road games have been awful. The defensive effort has been lacking (I made that point in my Game 9 review on Thursday). With the comfort of a home game against Kansas State and a huge Big Monday game coming up at Oklahoma, Huggins’ words were the truth. But they were also calculated words, spoken by a head coach with a lot of experience who was looking for a certain outcome.
Huggins got the outcome he was looking for Saturday against Kansas State. The energy was there defensively, both in the full court and the half court. The turnovers were there early, as the Wildcats turned the ball over a half-dozen times in the first eight minutes. And the shooting got better, as the Mountaineers shot 55 percent from the floor.
But Huggins also tweaked his starting lineup again, putting James Bolden on the floor for his first career start in place of the struggling Daxter Miles Jr. Bolden scored 13 points, but his real value was on defense. The energy he brought to the perimeter defense was clear, even though he only had one steal. But he also took a charge in the game, his 23rd of the season. The rest of the Mountaineers have taken 30 charges this season. Huggins clearly though that Bolden could give him something different in the starting lineup and he delivered. Bolden and Miles played practically the same amount of time, but Miles only had seven points. But, to be fair to Miles, a couple of his baskets were pretty big — a layup just after the Barry Brown Jr. technical and a 3-pointer that gave the Mountaineers a 14-point lead at the 14:30 mark of the second half.
West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate continued his strong play with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Jevon Carter only had 6 points, but he dished out 11 assists. Teddy Allen finally had a solid game off the bench for the Mountaineers with 12 points.
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) February 4, 2018
Kansas State? Well that was a road egg for them and the biggest issue was the play of Brown. One of the top scorers in the Big 12 coming into the game (more than 20 points per game in Big 12 action) Brown was held to just one point in this game and only attempted three field goals. Plus, there was the frustration foul and the ensuing technical foul on Brown in the first four minutes of the second half that sapped any momentum the Wildcats were trying to build. Seeing Brown take on the chair and the Gatorade jug on the Kansas State bench was all you needed to see to know how frustrated Brown was on Saturday. Part of the credit has to go to Carter and Bolden, who drew Brown on defense at various times Saturday.
The Wildcats shot just 29.8 percent for the game, committed the aforementioned 15 turnovers and had just 24 rebounds. Dean Wade had a fine game (17 points) and Xavier Sneed bounced back from some inconsistency of late with 16 points.
Kamau Stokes did return to the floor for K-State after missing seven games with a broken bone in his foot. Stokes played 10 minutes and scored 2 points. That was just a taste for the Wildcats. They’re trying to ease him back into a lineup that, up until Saturday, had been running on all cylinders offensively. I suspect he’ll get more playing time next week.
Texas 79, Oklahoma 74: We have to start with Trae Young. We’re obligated to do so. Well, not really. But when you are game-planning for Oklahoma, that’s where you have to start. And Texas had a solid game plan for him on Saturday.
Let’s start with the day before. Early in the broadcast ESPN showed the “Trae Young Line” the players worked with in practice. It was nearly 29 feet away from the basket. Young has tremendous range from the 3-point line, in the category of Steph Curry. Texas head coach Shaka Smart wanted to remind his players about Young’s range. It proved a potent tool.
Texas guards Kerwin Roach II and Matt Coleman shared defensive responsibilities on Young. Roach was the primary defender and Coleman defended him when Roach was off the floor. Both were tasked with staying with Young wherever he went, whether he had the ball or not. Like Kansas State, which defended Young well a couple of weeks ago, Young’s defender didn’t play any help-side responsibilities. Plus, Texas worked to double Young on inbounds passes off made baskets as a way of keeping the ball out of his hands.
All of it had an impact. Young had just 19 points and had one of his poorest shooting nights from the 3-point line — 2-of-14. The “Trae Young Line” came in handy as both Coleman and Roach were cognizant of extending their man defense closer to the midcourt logo. Young rarely had a 3-point shot without a hand in his face.
But Young still had an impact. He dished out 14 assists and set up his teammates for good games in their own rights. Jamuni McNease gave the Sooners great bench minutes with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Rashard Odomes scored 15 points and Christian James — who missed the Sooners’ last game with the flu — returned with 10 points.
One of the beneficiaries of all the attention #Hookem paid to Trae Young Saturday was Jamuni McNease who had 16 points off the bench, including this dunk #BoomerSooner #Big12MBB @Heartland_CS pic.twitter.com/M2hbEetmtt
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) February 4, 2018
And, yet, Texas won. Certainly, holding Young to 19 points helped. But Texas’ transition defense was shoddy for a good portion of the game and while the Sooners shot 51 percent Texas shot 45 percent. Texas wasn’t particularly efficient at times offensively, but they hung in there, even as they fell behind by double-digits in the second half. And then the offense started to come to life.
Perhaps that good defense started to fuel Texas’ offense. Roach scored 19 points and hit three 3-pointers. Center Mo Bamba had 13 points and 9 boards and, at one point, needed some emergency tailoring.
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) February 4, 2018
Dylan Osetkowski added 15 points, but the true star was Coleman, the freshman point guard who continues to grow up fast. Coleman had 22 points, most of which came in the second half. He had an interesting sequence around the 14-minute mark of the second half. He hit a 3-pointer to cut OU’s lead to 4 points, followed it with a missed dunk that led to an Oklahoma fast break and then followed that miscue with another 3-pointer. He later hit the four biggest free throws of the game — his only four attempts. Coleman hit a pair of free throws to push Texas’ lead back to four points with 1:44 left. Then, with 51 seconds left Coleman hit two more to make it a six-point Texas lead and effectively put the game away. Between those free throws, Coleman was playing on-ball defense on Young as the OU guard had back-to-back turnovers.
It was a tremendous bounce-back for Coleman, who missed three free throws against Texas Tech in regulation on Wednesday that could have swung that game Texas’ way before it went into overtime. That’s a grow-up moment for Coleman.
This Texas team, which at one point to me looked like it might be sinking has started to round into something really interesting. The Longhorns have won four of their last six, and one of those losses was the overtime loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday. During that stretch the Longhorns have beaten two ranked teams, including Tech in Austin. This was after a 2-3 start to Big 12 action. At one time I questioned Texas’ tournament credentials. I don’t anymore, especially when you consider that one of Texas’ wins is over Alabama, a team that beat Oklahoma last weekend.
Before the game Oklahoma players were wearing warm-up shirts with the name and number of Texas guard Andrew Jones, who is fighting leukemia. One Longhorn player holds Jones’ jersey throughout each Texas game. Before the game Jones’ family released a statement about his progress.
— Heartland College Sports (@Heartland_CS) February 3, 2018
Baylor 81, Iowa State 67: Baylor snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory in this one. If they had any hopes of interesting the NCAA in their presence in the tournament, the push has to come now. Baylor was looking for a little revenge, having lost to Iowa State in Ames last month. The difference for Baylor in this one was forward Terry Maston.
— Matthew Postins (@PostinsPostcard) February 4, 2018
Maston scored 8 points in 21 minutes off the bench in the first meeting. He was still rounding into shape after missing time due to an injury. This game was considerably different for Maston, who was fluid offensively and had a tremendous second half for the Bears, punctuated by the dunk above. Maston had 23 points (a career-high) on 9-of-11 shooting and a 5-of-5 clip at the free throw line. He threw in five rebounds, too. We talk about Baylor’s length so much and they have a ton of it between Jo Lual-Acuil (10 points), Tristan Clark and Nuni Omot (9 points). But Maston is a player that can bring the muscle inside and the senior did just that against the tough front line of Iowa State. This was Maston’s finest game of the season and just the second time he scored 20 or more points (he scored 20 points in Baylor’s OT win over TCU).
As for Iowa State, well, the Cyclones were in this game in the first half, up 32-30 at the break. Four of their starters ended up in double figures (led by Donovan Jackson’s 15 points, along with 14 each from Lindell Wigginton and Cameron Lard). But their offense never really got cranked up. Iowa State shot a steady, but not a good, percentage in this game — 34.5 percent in the first half, 34.2 percent in the second half. But Baylor, which shot around 35 percent in the first half picked it up in the second half, shooting 62.1 percent. Wigginton was hot in the first half as he scored 14 points, but he missed all seven of his field-goal attempts in the second half. That was the determining factor in this game, as the Cyclones were there with Baylor in just about every other significant category.
Certainly, not having guard Nick Weiler-Babb on the floor hurt the Cyclones (he missed his second game with knee tendonitis). The hope is that he’s back next week, but it’s not a given. When Prohm initially revealed the injury to reporters he said “at least a week, possibly two weeks.” We just wrapped up Week 1. So, we’ll see.
Dean Wade had six straight 20-point games going into Saturday’s game with West Virginia. … Going into Saturday’s game at West Virginia, Barry Brown Jr. and Dean Wade had combined for 41.4 points per game in Big 12 action. The pair was held to 18 points on Saturday, with Brown only scoring one point. … Kansas is now 5-3 in its last eight games at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas was 102-3 at Allen Fieldhouse before that. … Entering Saturday’s game Trae Young was responsible for 58 percent of Oklahoma’s points (either by score or assist). … Before Saturday’s loss OU was 12-0 when Allen had at least nine assists. He had 14 vs. Texas. … The Longhorns are 22-18 against Oklahoma in Austin.
Looking ahead to next week: The Big Monday showdown in Norman, Oklahoma, between West Virginia and OU is the marquee game of the week. TCU goes to Kansas to try and hand the Jayhawks another home loss, while Baylor is at Oklahoma State, Texas hosts Kansas State and Texas Tech hosts Iowa State.