AMES, Iowa — New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, but here’s one the Longhorns should stick with: If opponents are going to give you open 3-point shots, take ’em.
Dylan Osetkowski was going to let it fly on New Year’s Day against Iowa State no matter what. “He got tired of me cursing him out in practice,” guard Matt Coleman said.
Osetkowski knew the Cyclones would leave him alone. That’s what they did to Kansas State’s Dean Wade last Friday, and Wade went 6 for 8 from long range. So Osetkowski let it rip.
The Texas junior hit seven 3-pointers and piled up a game-high 25 points. Eric Davis Jr. hit two big ones himself. Kerwin Roach Jr. hit a 3-pointer, turned to stare down the crowd and got called for a technical foul. Andrew Jones connected twice, and so did Mo Bamba.
The Longhorns hit a season-high 13 3-pointers and emerged with a 74-70 overtime road win. In fact, it tied for the second-most 3-pointers ever made in Shaka Smart’s three seasons in Austin. This was also UT’s first win at Hilton Coliseum since January 2010.
A new year brings new confidence, it seems. Texas (10-4, 1-1 Big 12) is still last in the Big 12 in 3-point shooting, but 2018 has only just begun. Asked if that bothered him, Texas coach Shaka Smart said, “That we’re shooting ’em or that we’re last? Yeah, of course!
“Teams are going to continue to dare us to shoot,” Smart added. “We’re talking about Division I, Big 12-level recruits that were good shooters in high school. They make a lot of shots in practice. I really believe it’s about taking the mentality of assertiveness and aggressiveness to jump up and shoot it with no regard for this idea of, ‘What if I might miss?’”
Osetkowski hit from the left and right wings and drilled a monster 3-pointer from the right corner with 34 seconds left in overtime. That shot, along with Coleman’s two driving baskets and four free throws late, iced it.
“In practice and at shoot-around, the players and coaches, especially Matt here, have just been adamant about the fact that I should shoot the ball,” Osetkowski said. “Don’t be hesitant. Just shoot the ball with confidence.”
Perhaps everyone should be listing to Coleman more. Smart’s coveted point guard did a little bit of everything against the Cyclones (9-4, 0-2). He had 12 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. This happened just one game after UT’s prized freshman, Bamba, almost had a triple-double himself.
“Wow, he did almost have a triple-double,” Bamba said with amazement while looking at the stat sheet.
Coleman, Roach, Jones and Davis were assigned to keep tabs on Iowa State’s standout collection of guards, led by Lindell Wigginton. This is a prideful group that got burned by Kansas’ guards last Friday. One of the best perimeter defensive units in the country allowed 17 made 3-pointers.
That wasn’t going to happen again. Iowa State was 7 for 27 from beyond the arc. Donovan Jackson did all the damage. He hit six treys and freshman Cameron Lard piled up 21 points and 16 rebounds. Wigginton finished with four points, 12 below his average.
“We took a lot of time and talked about the three guards, they were like the three-headed snake,” Coleman said.
To which Bamba interrupted his point guard and said, “Dragon.”
Said Coleman, “A dragon, a three-headed dragon. I’m sorry. A lot of attention was put on the guards and being able to contain them and make it hard for them.”
Hilton Coliseum has been a dungeon full of dragons every time UT rolls through. Fortunately for UT, the Horns caught the Cyclones when students were away and it was minus-12 degrees outside.
The crowd of 14,131 finally perked up when Jackson hit a 3-pointer that gave the home team a 49-41 lead. But Davis responded — much like Smart has been begging him to — with two clutch shots that drew fouls. Davis hit another bucket that made it a three-point game and tallied up 15 on the night.
“That’s my role on the team — score,” Davis said. “I’ve got to contribute in some way. I’m not 6-11 so rebounds isn’t the key. I’m a shooter. I’ve just got to score, man.”
Osetkowski’s 3-pointer with 7:20 remaining in overtime tied things up, and it was back and forth down the stretch. In overtime, Coleman took command early with a driving runner. Then, he sliced through the lane and scored on a reverse layup, giving Texas a 67-63 lead.
Osetkowski’s corner 3-pointer was just as big as the one he shot late against Virginia Commonwealth. Coleman’s four free throws in the final 8.1 seconds closed the door.
“It just shows our fight,” Coleman said. “Just keep fighting. Stuff doesn’t go your way early, but you’ve got to find a way to win.”
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email email@example.com.
The post Texas 74, Iowa State 70 (OT): New year begins with Longhorns’ first win in Ames since 2010 appeared first on Hook ‘Em.
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