Texas notched a critical win in its pursuit of an NCAA Tournament bid on Wednesday night, defeating Iowa State 68-64. The Longhorns now advance to the second round of the Big 12 Championships, facing off against Texas Tech on Thursday night.
Here are three takeaways from the Longhorns’ win.
Sims controls the interior
With Mo Bamba confined to the sidelines, fellow freshman Jericho Sims was once again called to serve as the Longhorns’ paint presence. And for the fourth consecutive contest, Sims delivered.
The starting forward entered Wednesday night scoring ten-plus points in his last three contests, with his strongest performance coming in the regular-season finale against West Virginia. Sims notched 17 points along with eight boards, leading the way in Texas’ 87-79 victory.
Sims’ scoring output dipped against the Cyclones – he ended his night with eight points – but he did snag 15 boards while serving as the Longhorns’ sole rim protector. Sims also served as a quality screener for the Longhorns guards, fueling many of Texas’ drives to the tin. With the burnt orange struggling mightily from the outside, Sims’ presence was critical.
Three-point struggles persist
Texas entered its first-round matchup with the Cyclones ranking No. 329 in the nation in three-point percentage. So it was little surprise that the Longhorns scuffed against Iowa State.
The burnt orange ended