As part of a home non-conference contest in which the Longhorns led from start to finish, Texas escaped a streaky Louisiana Tech squad on Saturday, 75-60.
Despite the ‘Horns being shorthanded, as leading scorer Andrew Jones is sidelined with a fractured wrist and junior Eric Davis Jr. didn’t play, Texas largely controlled the game throughout. After initially jumping out on top, 7-0, Texas pushed the lead to 15-5 early and maintained that double digit edge until the latter portion of the second half, despite Mohamed Bamba finding himself sitting with foul trouble and Matt Coleman uncharacteristically turning the ball over.
Courtesy of a strong shooting half from Dylan Osetkowski, though, who knocked in 3-5 perimeter looks and totaled 13 first half points, Texas entered the break leading 38-26.
Coming out of the break, it appeared Texas would continue to cruise. With just under 15 minutes remaining, the Longhorns owned a comfortable 46-31 edge, but then as turnovers amounted for Texas, shots began to fall for Louisiana Tech. Fast forward less than a minute later and following a pair of Bulldog three-pointers, Louisiana Tech had cut Texas’ lead to 47-39, and the bleeding didn’t stop there.
With Bamba in foul trouble, Louisiana Tech found a balance of attacking the basket and finding success from the perimeter en route to a push that left Texas’ lead at just four points, 52-48 with 10:48 remaining.
Just as it did when pushed by VCU down the stretch, though, Texas found a way to respond. Back-to-back Jericho Sims layups pushed the Longhorns lead back to 58-50 to provide a bit of breathing room, and Bamba’s late reinsertion into the rotation saw Texas enjoy the former five-star prospect’s two-way dominance en route to a double-digit victory. Throughout the final eight-minute stretch of the game, when the outcome remained largely undecided, Bamba notched 10 points, six rebounds and two key blocks and as a result, Texas’ lead during that period grew from eight to 15.
Bamba finished with 14 points, nine rebounds five blocks and four fouls in limited minutes. Osetkowski recorded a new-career high with 22 points, along with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals, although Osetkowski did turn the ball over seven times. Starting in place of Davis, who is reportedly dealing with a wrist injury, Jacob Young provided 10 points. Along with his seven points and four assists, Matt Coleman recorded a new career-high four turnovers, as well.
On the other end, DaQuan Bracey scored a career-best 24 points on an efficient 8-13 shooting display. Freshman Anthony Duruji and junior Derric Jean joined him in double figures as each added 10 points.
Collectively, though, Louisiana Tech shot just 33.9 percent from the field and only 24 percent from the perimeter, and the paired with the 15 turnovers, simply wasn't enough to steal a road win.
A shorthanded 'Horns squad, however, found a bit of a stroke from deep by hitting 6-14, although free throws remain a concern as Texas hit just 21-34. The turnovers remain an issue, as well, but on an afternoon in which Texas saw key contributors sidelined or play far from their best game, the Longhorns outlasted a streaky Louisiana State squad and thus, improved to 7-3 on the season.
Next up, Texas will be back at the Frank Erwin Center on Monday, Dec. 18 with Tennessee State coming to town. Tip-off is set for 9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN2.