North Florida-Texas Preview
With freshman guard Cory Joseph's help, Texas bounced back quickly from its worst offensive performance of the season its last time out.
The 22nd-ranked Longhorns will look to build on their best scoring effort and extend their non-conference home win streak to 25 on Tuesday night against North Florida.
Texas (7-2) shot 32.1 percent during a 73-56 loss at Southern California on Dec. 5 but rebounded with a 101-65 rout of visiting Texas State on Saturday.
The Longhorns shot 52.2 percent and Joseph hit five 3-pointers en route to a career-high 19 points.
"We definitely had to come out stronger," Joseph said. "In the last three games, we let the other team create the tempo, and we definitely wanted to come out from the jump, play hard and execute."
Joseph, who has started all nine games, has averaged 13.4 points on 54.5 percent shooting in his last five contests. In his first four, he averaged 6.3 points on 27.6 percent shooting.
"I'm just taking open looks," Joseph said. "I was taking them before, I just wasn't hitting them."
Along with Joseph's continued growth, Texas got a sign that leading scorer Jordan Hamilton's shooting struggles might be ending. The sophomore swingman made six of 13 attempts Saturday after going 13 of 41 (31.7 percent) in the previous three games, including a 4-of-13 performance in his return home to Los Angeles.
Hamilton, scoring 20.0 points per game, was a 52.5 percent shooter in the first five games.
If he can regain that form Tuesday night, it might prove too much for the Ospreys to handle in their first meeting with the Longhorns.
North Florida (4-5) has already had a difficult time with ranked teams this season and over its five-plus as a Division I program.
The Ospreys have dropped their seven all-time matchups with Top 25 opponents by an average of nearly 38 points. They've lost their three this season - at Pittsburgh, Missouri and Purdue - by an average of nearly 35.
They fell 77-57 to the No. 19 Boilermakers on Saturday. North Florida forced a season-high 19 turnovers but allowed Purdue to shoot 55.8 percent.
"We continued to compete against talented teams, and this will definitely be something we can build upon," coach Matthew Driscoll told the school's official website. "We will look to continue working and improving."
Sophomore guard Parker Smith, who entered the game averaging a team-best 11.5 points, was held scoreless while missing six 3-point attempts.
The team's fourth-leading scorer, senior guard Brad Haugabrook, scored 12 points to reach double figures for the third consecutive game.