Arizona Post-Game Thoughts

What can we take from the Longhorns' final game? Here are five thoughts on Texas's 70-69 loss to Arizona.

1) As has been mentioned by everybody, the five second call was a bogus call. The referee's arm is clearly waving back to call the fourth count when he blows the whistle. Stopwatch measurements put the whistle at 4.5 seconds after the play starts. Either way, Cory Joseph clearly called timeout prior to the five-second violation. The call came at a critical point in the game, and gave the Wildcats the ball back with a chance to take the lead with less than 15 seconds remaining. They took advantage of that opportunity, with Derrick Williams converting a three-point play, leading to a 70-69 Wildcat victory.

2) Having said all that, the call didn't cost the Longhorns the game. Texas had plenty of opportunities to win, and wouldn't have been playing from behind had they followed the most obvious course of action: bludgeoning the undersized Wildcats inside. Instead, Texas settled for jump shots, missing all five of its first-half three-point attempts and going to the line just six times in the stanza. The Longhorns clearly adjusted well in the second half, and with J'Covan Brown barreling into the lane, scored 44 second-half points (they put up 25 in the first half) and won the half by 10. Also worth noting was the mistake to call a timeout in the first place, setting up the above ill-fated out-of-bounds play.

3) This was a microcosm of Jordan Hamilton's season. Hamilton struggled defensively, with Hamilton's man, Solomon Hill, scoring 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds. At the same time, Hamilton was up-and-down offensively. When the Longhorns needed some momentum in the first half, Hamilton blocked a fast-break attempt by Lamont Jones, then raced the length of the court for a transition dunk. He had another dunk just seconds later that energized the Longhorns in a dangerous spot. In the second half, his back-to-back three-pointers cut a double-digit deficit down to five points at a key point in the game, and helped lay the foundation for the Longhorn comeback. Those were the bright spots. Other than the two bursts, Hamilton scored just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting, including a 1-for-5 night from behind the arc. Hamilton has a nice three-point shot, but he could also serve to take a play from his friend Derrick Williams's playbook and drive through contact. Williams had a poor outing Sunday, but he still scored 17 points because he went to the line 15 times.

4) Tristan Thompson needs to come back. One of the biggest takeaways from Sunday's game was the lack of offensive polish from the Longhorn big man. Thompson scored just three points on 1-for-4 shooting in 36 minutes, despite facing an Arizona defense that lacked a strong low-post defender. In fact, the Wildcats were so terrified of Thompson that they sent hard double-teams at the freshman nearly every time he touched the ball. Rather than making quick moves to the basket or calmly dissecting the double-team with passes to open teammates, Thompson hesitated and was taken totally out of the game. He was so frustrated that even when he did find himself in a rare one-on-one matchup, he seemed to wait for a double-team to come, then hurried into what appeared to be a shot out of his comfort zone.

5) J'Covan Brown was masterful. Always capable of big offensive games, and seemingly always ready to unleash them on top-quality competition, Brown was the best player in a game that featured at least three potential NBA Lottery picks. Time and again he received the ball on the Longhorns' dribble-weave and dribbled into the lane, either drawing a free throw — he was 13-of-13 on the night — or hitting on a layup or floater. He shot 5-for-10 from inside the arc and willed the Longhorns back into a game that they trailed by double-digits. Brown is one of the top offensive performers in the country when his heart is in it, and now the key is to develop that on a consistent basis. Scoring 23 points and dishing out three assists is awfully impressive, and even moreso when one considers that he did that in 25 minutes. It's a shame he didn't start a little earlier: 21 of his 23 came in the second half.


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