After the seven-game winning streak that put it in the rankings, Texas rolls back into action Tuesday, looking to prevent the start of a losing streak.
The Longhorns face a determined Oklahoma State on Tuesday at the Frank Erwin Center after falling to Kansas State over the weekend.
In the AP ranking released Monday, Texas has moved down to No. 19, a four-spot drop in the polls after a 74-57 loss to the Wildcats on Saturday.
Since its upset victory against No. 6 Kansas just over a week ago, Texas (18-5, 7-3 Big 12) has had trouble pulling away from its opponents, mostly because of turnovers and lack of energy. The Longhorns overcame 13 turnovers against lowly TCU to pull out a victory. On Saturday, Texas coughed up 18 turnovers against the Wildcats for its third Big 12 loss of the season.
“Some of the turnovers we had were ridiculous and so were some of the shots we took,” said head coach Rick Barnes after Saturday’s loss. “I was baffled with some of the things we did, even on the shots that we took. They were getting out in transition. The turnovers were huge.”
In its seven conference wins this season, Texas averaged 11.7 turnovers per game and held its opponents to 65.1 points per game. On the contrary, the Longhorns averaged 16 turnovers per game and allowed their opponents to score 83 points per game in their three Big 12 losses this season.
Freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor has led his team since it started 0-2 in the Big 12. Taylor has reached double figures in scoring and averaged 19.5 points per game in the last four games. Against Kansas State, the freshman recorded a team-high 17 points and four rebounds.
“It was a big learning process for me taking on a leadership role in the team and just having my teammates around,” Taylor said after his best performance of the year against Kansas. “I had a tough stretch at the beginning of the Big 12. They’ve just been encouraging me on and off the court, just keep it going just keep attacking the basket.”
The Longhorns and the Cowboys faced off early last month in Stillwater, Okla., with Oklahoma State emerging victorious, 87-74.
Oklahoma State is coming off a loss against Texas Tech, a game which thrust Cowboy guard Marcus Smart in the middle of controversy. With six seconds left in the game, Smart — who leads his team in scoring with 17.5 points per game and is expected to go early in this year’s NBA Draft — got in an altercation with a Red Raider fan in the stands. As a result of his actions, he received three game suspensions and will miss Tuesday’s game.