Texas' Big Men Come Up Short; Longhorns lose to Kansas State 71-62
Coming into Monday night's game, Texas' frontcourt ranked as one of the top big men combos in the nation - the leading candidate for National Player of the Year, Damion James, and the massive 6'10", 290-pound Dexter Pittman. Combined, the two were averaging 31 points and 18 rebounds per game, while shooting an effective 57% from the field. Whether it was Kansas State's defense or just a poor game for both seniors, all I know is that the Longhorns two best players came up short, and Texas left Manhattan, Kansas with their first loss of the season. James and Pittman combined for 15 points on 6-for-19 shooting (31.5%) and just 14 rebounds, all well-below their season averages. They continually made poor decisions in terms of their shot selection, whether is was James' off-balance, left handed lay-up, fading away from the rim on a 3-on-1 break that lead to a Kansas State break the other way, or Pittman's delicate ways in the low post. He few buckets were on points created by others, not out of his own post ups.
To make matters worse, the Texas' big men couldn't contain the Wildcats' forwards- Curtis Kelly and Jamar Samuels. James and Pittman couldn't keep the two off the glass, on either end, as Kelly and Samuels combined for 20 rebounds, including 7 offensive boards. When K-State's star, Jacob Pullen, was struggling to hit his outside shot (0-for-6 from 3-point range on the game, and just 2-for-15 from the field), Kelly and Samuels continually made plays. Whether it was holding James and Pittman in check on defense, posting up/slashing through the lane and getting to the foul line, or keeping the ball alive on the offensive end with key rebounds, the two did it all.