Barnes unhappy after Horns' latest win

January 3, 2008 5:21:13 PM PST
Texas snapped a two-game skid and yet Rick Barnes sounded like a coach still mad at his team. Minutes after the Longhorns (12-2) pulled out a 67-59 win over TCU on Wednesday, Barnes lashed out at his bench, ripped his star point guard and questioned whether his team is learning from its mistakes.

There's a reason walk-on Ian Mooney played a career-high 14 minutes against the Horned Frogs: It was a clear message that reserves who are on scholarship haven't earned playing time.

"Maybe I'm stupid," Barnes said. "Ian Mooney did exactly what we're begging three or four other post guys to do. You expect your scholarship player that you recruited to do that, to buy into that role. He went out there and did exactly what we need."

Mooney's 14 minutes and two points were more than reserves Clint Chapman, Dexter Pittman and Alexis Wangmene had combined. Mooney's lone basket provided all of Texas' bench scoring, and his only rebound set up a key 3-pointer late in the game. He also blocked a shot.

"All we need, as a group, is what Ian Mooney did off the bench. If we get that, we have a chance to be a good basketball team," Barnes said. "You look at the stat sheet and it seems like he doesn't do much, but he closed out and he did everything we wanted. During all those stands that we had, he was the guy who made most of it happen."

Pittman, a sophomore who has been shedding weight since he got on campus to get to his current 300 pounds, "looked like he was nailed to the ground" and had one rebound during his three minutes on the court, Barnes said.

Chapman played three minutes and had two turnovers. Wangmene played five minutes and had all zeros on the stat sheet.

Mooney usually plays in junk time during early-season routs. "I had a lot of fun out there," he said. "I can't argue with getting those minutes."

Barnes is driving his team to get back to the form that propelled an 11-game winning streak to start the season. Post play and bench scoring were glaring problems in consecutive losses to Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Barnes has never been one to coddle his players, and his post-game comments were not a subtle hint that he hoped might sink in.

Even starters weren't spared his wrath.

Point guard D.J. Augustin, arguably one of the best players in the country, felt some of it after the TCU game.

Augustin scored 20 points but was 4-of-10 shooting and offset three assists with three turnovers. Barnes didn't like Augustin's decision-making, noting he picked up two fouls that sent him to the bench for nine minutes of the first half.

"He hasn't played well in three games," Barnes said. "He's better than that. I don't know if there's a better player in the country when he brings it. But he's got to do more."

Texas could turn things around quickly. After missing the first 13 games while doctors monitored a cardiac condition, freshman forward Gary Johnson saw his first action against TCU.

His numbers were limited -- five points and five rebounds in 21 minutes -- but his presence inside allowed forward Damion James to roam out to the wings where he's more comfortable. James had a career-high 29 points and 14 rebounds against the Horned Frogs.

"He's continued to work, even in our two losses," Barnes said. "For the most part, he's been doing a good job."

Texas plays Saint Mary's (Calif.) at home Saturday before opening Big 12 play Jan. 12 at Missouri.

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