The Rebuild Texas Relief Fund received a boost on Wednesday when the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies played an exhibition game at Rice’s Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey. The ‘Horns held on to win, 73-69, in a contest that at times became chippy between the two former rivals.
Sophomore guard Andrew Jones led Texas with 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while star freshman Mohamad Bamba continued to tantalize with his talent in an efficient offensive performance with 15 points. Bamba shot 7-of-11 from the field and added 10 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.
Freshman forward Jericho Sims was also a factor on the defensive end, blocking three shots in 18 minutes of action.
Overall, the Texas defense was a difference in the game against a good Texas A&M frontcourt, as the Aggies only shot 30.3 percent from the field. The ‘Horns also benefited from a poor three-point shooting performance by the home team, which missed 12 of its 15 attempts from distance.
A&M only led once during the entire game — at 5-4 in the early going — and Texas stretched the lead to 14 points less than 15 minutes into the game after junior guard Kerwin Roach Jr. made a layup.
Hot shooting from the ‘Horns enabled a 13-point lead at halftime as the Aggies struggled from the field in the first 20 minutes.
A late-game run by Texas A&M narrowed the Texas lead to one, but Jones responded by hitting four free throws over the next several minutes. Several defensive stops late put Bamba in a position to close out the game and the freshman responded by making his second attempt to stretch the lead to four with 11 seconds remaining.
Foul trouble was a concern for the Longhorns — even though seven fouls were allowed, Bamba, freshman guard Matt Coleman, and junior forward Dylan Osetkowski all committed five fouls, while Jones and Sims both committed four. After issues staying out of foul trouble in Australia, Bamba clearly still needs to adjust to the college game in that regard because Texas is going to need him on the floor for as many minutes as he can handle this season.
Osetkowski wasn’t much of a factor offensively, either, attempting only two field goals in 27 minutes of action. It’s possible that his right wrist is still bothering him, which would be a concern if that injury lingers into the season.
And the three-point shooting also wasn’t as good as it will need to be, with the Longhorns only hitting on seven of the team’s 23 attempts. The two players who will have to carry much of that load, Jones and junior guard Eric Davis Jr., combined to hit on four of 13 attempts.
Still, it wasn’t an average exhibition game given the continued animosity between the two schools, and Texas A&M was picked to finish third in the SEC this season.