Texas St.-Texas Preview
Texas’ highest-scoring game in nearly four years wasn’t good
enough for coach Rick Barnes. He certainly wouldn’t tolerate
another subpar performance against Texas State.
Following a dominant game offensively, the second-ranked
Longhorns look to avenge one of their worst shooting games from
last season as they host the Bobcats on Saturday afternoon.
After shooting below 42 percent in two straight games, Texas
(7-0) made 59.0 percent of its shots in a 107-74 win over Long
Beach State on Monday night. The Longhorns scored their most points
since a 110-38 victory over Prairie View A&M on Dec. 30,
Still, Barnes has even higher standards for his team.
“We’ve come a long way in five weeks,” he said. “(But) we’re a
long way from being the team I envision. I want to be the team that
can be relentless every possession on defense and offense. I want
people to say ‘They are nasty and they are going to keep
Texas shot 35.9 percent against Texas State last Dec. 13 but
still won 81-73 for its 20th straight victory in the series. The
Bobcats (3-6) haven’t beaten the Longhorns since a 33-31 win in
Austin on Dec. 7, 1937.
The Longhorns lead the series 38-5.
Forward Damion James had 17 points and nine rebounds in last
year’s contest with Texas State. He’s the Longhorns’ leader with
15.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
James had 14 points versus Long Beach State despite being
limited by foul problems, while Texas’ heralded group of freshmen
had their most productive game. Avery Bradley scored 17 and Jordan
Hamilton and J’Covan Brown each had 13.
“We get better every single day,” Bradley said.
Bradley, ranked by some as the top recruit in the nation, shot 7
for 13 from the field and 2 for 4 from 3-point range. The guard is
averaging 9.4 points.
“Coach said sometimes I need to look to score,” Bradley said.
“If I miss a shot, I’m looking to make the next one.”
Bradley is one of three starting guards for Texas. That group
includes junior Dogus Balbay, who had a career-high 11 assists in
his second straight start after being used off the bench for the
first five games.
“If they keep finishing, I’m going to keep (passing),” said
Balbay, who leads the Longhorns with 5.1 assists a contest.
Texas State has been tinkering with its lineup all season, using
different combinations of starters in each of its games. The
Bobcats have six players averaging at least 8.0 points.
Cameron Johnson leads Texas State with 12.3 points and 7.9
rebounds per game. The junior forward, though, was held to three
points on 1-of-5 shooting in a 94-86 loss to SMU on Monday
Uriel Segura, Tony Bishop and J.B. Conley each had 18 points for
Texas State. Conley went 2 for 4 from beyond the arc and is making
52.0 percent of his shots from long range.