No. 17 Texas has won with its defense through the first nine game of the season but will likely have to do more on offense Sunday against Stanford as part of the Pac-12 Coast to Coast Challenge in Las Vegas.
The Longhorns (7-2) head to the desert after a dominating 63-31 win at home over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday. Texas’ Tre Mitchell scored 14 points and was the lone player to reach double figures in scoring, but 13 players saw action for the Longhorns, and 11 of them scored.
Texas did not allow a field goal over the first 11:49 and limited Arkansas-Pine Bluff to 30.8 percent shooting from the field, including 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) from 3-point range. The Longhorns also allowed just six assists while forcing 20 turnovers. Texas registered 13 steals and posted a 23-3 advantage in points off turnovers.
“We played defense (against Arkansas-Pine Bluff) from where I was sitting pretty good,” Texas coach Chris Beard said. “The first thing we think about is our defense because you have to score off your defense in an NCAA Tournament game. You can’t just come down the floor every time and score enough points to win the game just with your offense.
“At the same time, our offense has to help the defense. Where my mind always goes first is, ‘Can we get some easy baskets? Can we get an easy basket off a defensive stuff?’ And that’s a change of mindset for many of our players. And we’re working on it.”
Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s 31 points tied for the second fewest allowed by Texas since the 1949-50 season. Texas previously limited Texas State to 27 points in a 59-27 home win on Dec. 13, 2014, and held SMU to 31 points in a 41-31 home victory on Jan. 8, 1952.
The Cardinal (6-3) bring some serious momentum into the matchup with Texas, heading east after rallying from seven points down with just over a minute left in regulation at home to beat Dartmouth 89-78 in overtime on Thursday.
Stanford got a career-high 22 points from Jaiden Delaire, with Brandon Angel adding a career-best 18, Harrison Ingram scoring 13 (seven in the final minute of regulation) and James Keefe 12.
“We had a lot of adversity (against Dartmouth), didn’t play our best, but we did play our best when it was needed and we got better throughout the game,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. “I thought the guys responded well, I thought the staff gave some really good suggestions, and I thought we developed a plan as we went because the first plan needed some adjustments.”
Stanford has won two straight games and three of its last four after losing 86-48 to now-top-ranked Baylor on the road on Nov. 20.
In the most recent matchup between Texas and Stanford, Texas won 75-73 in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2015.
–Field Level Media