Senior Night showcases young and old for Men's Basketball
March 1, 2010
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- Against rival Oklahoma on Monday night at the Frank Erwin Center, the Longhorns came away with a decisive 87-76 victory, but the game was anything but. In fact, the Sooners held a 13-point lead against UT in the first half and an 11-point cushion with 15:36 remaining in the second half.
The difference? Pride.
“They wanted it more,” OU guard Cade Davis said.
“We can pound the glass,” James says. “Shoot the ball and go get it.”
After Jordan Hamilton missed a 3-point attempt from the corner, James chased down the loose ball rebound with focused abandon. He then lofted an alley-oop pass to Pittman, who hung around the rim just long enough to throw down the dunk.
Pittman’s slam tied the game at 56-56 and ignited the Erwin Center crowd of 16,012. The Longhorns never trailed again.
“It’s winning time,” says James, after finishing with 24 points and eight rebounds. “I have to put forth the extra effort.”
James, Pittman and Justin Mason were honored before the game in a senior ceremony, and James says that as one of the team’s veteran leaders, he has to lead by example. For the Longhorns, the example is always a commitment to team above self, and a commitment to defense.
On a night when the senior trio played their final game at the Erwin Center, it was apparent that freshman Jordan Hamilton is taking heed to those lessons.
Hamilton recorded the first double-double of his career with 12 points and 11 rebounds. He went 5-of-7 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, but Hamilton credits his offensive consistency to another force entirely.
“Coach wants me to play defense, so that’s what I’m going to bring to the team,” Hamilton said.
Indeed, Rick Barnes did point out Hamilton’s 11 defensive rebounds, but he also lauded the overall effort of his team. Guys were communicating, and finally things started clicking.
UT shot 54 percent, went 23-of-28 from the foul stripe and committed just 10 turnovers -- the fewest since committing a season-low five in a road victory against Oklahoma State last month.
“We’ve grown a lot in some areas,” Barnes said. “It was really a pretty good effort overall, and it was a good effort with a lot of different guys. We’ve struggled, but the guys have never quit on each other. They always kept working hard.”