No. 16 Texas gets one more chance to round into shape before beginning Big 12 Conference play when it hosts Incarnate Word on Tuesday in Austin, Texas.
The Longhorns (9-2) will try to stay undefeated at home after a 68-48 win over Alabama State on Wednesday in their most recent game. Dylan Disu, playing in just his third game for Texas since recovering from a left knee injury last year at Vanderbilt, recorded a team-high 14 points and blocked three shots in only 17 minutes of court time in the victory.
“Every game I felt better just from a stamina standpoint,” Disu said. “I think you could tell just from like my explosiveness in game.”
Marcus Carr added 13 points for the Longhorns in the win, with Andrew Jones scoring 12 points and Timmy Allen hitting for 10. Texas, which forced 20 turnovers and limited the Hornets to 36.7 percent shooting from the floor, has held the opposition to under 60 points in all nine of its wins.
Texas has now kept six of its first 11 opponents below 50 points and leads the nation in scoring defense. But the Longhorns still need to score to compete in the uber-strong Big 12, and their shooting has been inconsistent at best and bad at other times, like in a 64-60 loss at Seton Hall earlier this month.
“I would be concerned if I didn’t hear the ball bouncing late at night, early in the morning,” Texas coach Chris Beard said after the win. “I’d be concerned if I didn’t know the players were paying the price. We’ve got a lot of guys working really hard in this program.”
The Longhorns shot just 42.1 percent from the floor against Alabama State and were only 7 of 24 from beyond the arc. Texas also had zero fast-break points in the victory.
“When the shot clock gets late, we’ve got to take those shots,” Beard said. “That’s been a little frustrating. The last two games, we’ve had veteran players make that mistake. But we’re turning down open shots, and we’ve got to get that fixed.
“But I don’t think it’s the worst problem in the world because it shows that our guys are trying to play team basketball and they care about the guy next to him. We can easily turn this thing up. It’s just harder sometimes to turn it down.”
Incarnate Word (2-10) heads to Austin after a 79-59 loss at No. 3 Purdue on Dec. 20. Benjamin Griscti’s 14 points led the Cardinals in the setback as Incarnate Word hit 12 3-pointers in the game against one of the top defenses in the nation.
Johnny Hughes III added 12 but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep Incarnate Word, a Southland Conference program, in contention.
“It was a great experience to play at Purdue,” Incarnate Word coach Carson Cunningham said afterward. “Our guys played incredibly hard and represented Incarnate Word with passion. It was a great opportunity to get better and test ourselves versus the best. We made strides today.”
The Cardinals have dropped two straight after a 72-62 win at home over Grambling State on Dec. 11. Incarnate Word’s losses this season have included games against current No. 1 Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas State and Abilene Christian.
–Field Level Media