until Texas vs Kansas

Tuesday, January 18


Texas 75 Oklahoma State 61

On a night without their blossoming young center and with the rest of P.J. Tucker’s season in jeopardy, Texas played their best game of the season to date, outplaying the #6 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys in Austin 75-61. Freshman point guard Daniel Gibson seized his moment in the national spotlight, scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds on ESPN’s ‘Big Monday.’

Texas closed the half on a 15-2 run to take a 12 point lead into the break. The Cowboys stormed out of the second half with hot shooting and stifling defense to pull within three points, but Texas went on another run, scoring 10 straight points and never looking back.

The big story here is the dominant performance by Gibson. The loss to Texas A&M (in which he missed 10 of 11 shots), in conjunction with his first half shooting struggles against Nebraska, clearly forced Gibson to alter his approach to the game. Where he had been too willing to settle for outside jump shots, forgoing attacks to the basket, Gibson has learned to penetrate forcefully, which gives him better opportunities to use his athleticism and quickness to score and opens up the floor for his teammates. T.J. Ford was so dominant a point guard not because of his outside shooting (which was average) but because he could break down the opposing defense with his penetration. Gibson is not as quick or as good a passer as Ford, but he’s a better scorer and shooter. This new development in his game makes him a far more complete and dangerous player.

There are some concerns for this team, despite the tremendous victory. Aldridge did not play and is out indefinitely, while P.J. Tucker may have failed himself off the floor for the remainder of the season. Due to privacy laws, the university will not be able to announce Tucker’s status until later today. Losing Tucker for the season would be devastating. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that he’s in this situation. I’m hoping for the best, but I don’t know how a rumor like this even gets started if there isn’t something to it. My best guess is that Tucker is out for the year. Texas can still be a good team without Tucker, but it has no chance of making any kind of serious postseason run without him. Keep your fingers crossed…

I went to the game last night at the Erwin Center. The atmosphere was perfect. I don't know if it translated to television, (the Drum has a tendency to look cavernous), but the fans were out of their seats, the students were excited, and the players were loving it. This was a signature win for this year's squad. We missed an opportunity to play UNC in Maui and came up just short at Wake Forest. Unless we beat Kansas on the road or make a serious run in March, this will be the best team we play and beat this year. OSU went to the Final Four last year and returned everyone except Tony Allen. This is an experienced, well coached, and extremely talented team. But last night we were the better team.

I couldn't be prouder to be a Longhorn fan. I only hope that this wasn't the climax of our season though. I have a bad feeling. Aldridge watched the game from the bench on crutches, rarely even standing up. PJ played one of his best halves in two years. Gibson dominated the first half with drives to the bucket and streaky outside shooting, but it was Tucker who drove us home. Barnes made a conscious effort to get PJ the ball in the second half by benching struggling Buckman and allowing Tucker to play power forward on the low block, where he is still most comfortable. PJ had 15 points, all in the second half and accounted for countless other buckets through assists and activity around the basket. I hope once again that was not his swan song for the season. We need Tucker and Aldridge to compete with the top tier teams in the Big 12 and to hopefully make a run at our fourth straight Sweet 16 performance.

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