AUSTIN, Texas — Texas defense held Iowa State to their second lowest scoring game of the season then beat them by 18 points 72-54. Good news for Texas was sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter, who started the game, came alive and scored 15 points in his 30 minutes on the court. Hunter took point guard responsibilities that provided Marcus Carr other ways to score his 13 points and a game-high five assists.
This was a physical game more than usual on both sides. At one point late in the game both teams seemed to escalate the pushing, shoving, shoulder leading, butt extending, and Roman gecko style of positioning under the net — even the refs started calling fouls away from the ball.
Brock Cunningham responded to our question of what it is like to have to go to battle? “It's a good time. I enjoy it. That's been part of my role ever since I stepped on campus, being able to be the guy to guard multiple positions and just be someone that you … It's hard to say. I enjoy battling down low. It's always fun guarding post players.”
Tyrese Hunter gave his thoughts on what would be the deciding factor that determines the champion with three games left in the regular season. “Defense! Um, we are going to hang our hat on defense. Just be aggressive, be us, be who we have been the whole year … we are just going to come out and play defense.”
Texas held Iowa State to 54 points, their second lowest scoring game all season. How? Defense!
Iowa State had 16 turnovers to which Texas capitalized and scored 28 points. Iowa State shot the ball from the field only 47 times. By comparison, Oklahoma shot the ball 60 times last game, Kansas put up 65 shots, and Baylor shot the ball 68 times when Texas played them earlier this season..
Of the 47 shots taken by Iowa State, 19 were from three-point range. Four of those would go through the net and count for points. The Cyclones did hit 28 points from the paint compared to Texas’ 18 points.
The obvious is that Texas just would not allow the Cyclones to shoot the ball.
The first half was the deciding factor as Texas scored 47 points to Iowa State’s 29 points. The second half was slow. In fact, Texas did not score until Brock Cunningham hit a three-pointer five minutes into the second half. Cunningham immediately followed up with a layup on the next play for Texas a minute later. Both teams scored 25 points each in the second half.
Iowa State has one of the top defenses in the country. You get the impression by how physical they are plus they are ranked 13th for having 8.3 steals per game. Against Texas, they had just six steals.
Respectfully, some of these steals did look impressive. On one, 6’7” Tre King with a teammate swarmed Timmy Allen. As Allen was trying to find someone to pass to, one of the players reached in like an octopus would do with an elegant slow motion presentation then yanked the ball away for the steal and no foul called. It was smooth and impressive, so credit where credit is due.
Texas has three games left then the 2023 Big 12 Championships. A conference every coach and player has said is the best, most competitive conference in college basketball. Ya, Think!
Texas next plays No. 9 Baylor up in Waco Feb. 25 (Sat) at 1 p.m. on ESPN followed by TCU on the road in Fort Worth on Mar. 1 (Wed) at 8 p.m. at ESPN2, and concluding with what may be the biggest game of the century as Texas hosts Kansas at the Moody Center where Texas has lost just one game this season.
The last game of the regular season for Texas Men’s Basketball is on Mar. 4 (Sat) at 3 p.m. and the great news is that the game will be on ESPN.