Lipscomb-Texas Preview

BY foxsports • December 15, 2014

Texas is one of the top defensive teams in the nation, but coach Rick Barnes remains concerned with his squad's offensive play.

He would like his ninth-ranked Longhorns to show the same intensity offensively as they have on the defensive end starting Tuesday night against visiting Lipscomb.

Texas (8-1) ranks fifth in the nation allowing an average of 50.9 points and is first with a defensive effective field-goal percentage of 34.3. The Longhorns have outrebounded all but one opponent while also ranking among the national leaders, pulling down 44.6 per contest.

"We know we can defend," Barnes said after the Longhorns held Texas State to nine first-half points and 21.6-percent shooting overall during Saturday's 59-27 victory.

Though Texas shot 54.8 percent, it was held under 60 points for the third time in four games and had five turnovers with three baskets through the first seven minutes.

"We don't play hard enough on offense for as hard as we play on defense," said Barnes, whose team has turned the ball over 41 times in the last two contests.

"We just don't put the kind of effort and intensity into doing that," Barnes added. "As a coaching staff, one thing that we've emphasized in games like this is that we defend and we really guard."

Texas has averaged 57.0 points in the last four games - including a 63-51 loss at top-ranked Kentucky on Dec. 5 - after scoring 78.0 per contest and shooting 49.6 percent in the first five. The Longhorns shot a combined 32.0 percent and went 16 of 67 from 3-point range in the three games prior to Saturday's rout.

Though they went 15 of 25 from the field in the second half against Texas State, Barnes again wasn't impressed.

"(We're) too methodical, not moving the ball, not fighting for our space, not playing hard," he said. "Just not playing hard at all. We act like we can just play at the pace we want to. I'm talking about cutting, screening and being careless with the ball."

Barnes has admitted the Longhorns are still trying to find their rhythm while playing without point guard Isaiah Taylor. The sophomore averages 15.0 points but remains out indefinitely after breaking his wrist during a 71-47 victory over Iowa on Nov. 20.

Six-foot-9 Cameron Ridley topped double digits for only the second time this season with a team-high 14 points in 21 minutes Saturday. He averaged 11.2 points and 8.2 rebounds last season but had only 8.0 and 3.3 per contest through the first month.

"Every player goes through a tough time," he said. "I honestly don't know what it was but I'm getting back to my old self."

The Longhorns have another good opportunity to fine-tune some things in this first meeting with Lipscomb (4-5), which has allowed at least 80 points four times and is shooting 41.7 percent on the season.

Bisons guard Josh Williams averages a team-leading 15.2 points and has made half of his 94 field-goal attempts, but has totaled 21 on 8-of-21 shooting in the last two contests.

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