Texas will try to regroup offensively without leading scorer Andrew Jones when the Longhorns host Louisiana Tech on Saturday. A poor offensive showing against Michigan in their first game without Jones (wrist) and his 15.3 points per game led to a 59-52 home loss.
“We knew we would have to step up on the offensive end with Andrew out,” junior forward Dylan Osetkowski said after the Michigan loss. “As a collective unit, we have to be better than (against Michigan). It’s tough to win a game scoring 52 points. It’s doable with the defensive team that we have, but collectively we have to be better.” It’s not just Jones’ scoring the Longhorns will miss through Christmas - when he’s expected back - but also his impact on perimeter defense. Junior Eric Davis Jr. made his first start of the season in place of Jones but finished with one point and one assist. The high-scoring Bulldogs are averaging 87.8 points during the past four games, shooting 53 percent from the floor during that stretch.
TV: 2 p.m. ET, Longhorn Network
ABOUT LOUISIANA TECH (7-3): Guard Jalen Harris leads the Bulldogs with 16.4 points and guard DaQuan Bracey adds 14.3 points. The pair of sophomores have each scored in double figures in nine of the Bulldogs’ 10 contests and Bracey leads the team with five assists per game. The Bulldogs, who are 11-33 all-time against current Big 12 teams, also get strong guard play from senior Jacobi Boykins (14.0 points, team-high 5.7 rebounds).
ABOUT TEXAS (6-3): Osetkowski adds 14.3 points and 7.6 rebounds for the Longhorns, while freshman forward Mohamed Bamba contributes 10.6 points and 10.1 rebounds after back-to-back double-doubles. Kerwin Roach II - the other half of Texas’ strong perimeter defense - averages 11.1 points on 62.5 percent shooting and has 10 steals. The Longhorns’ aggressive defense forces 15.2 turnovers and allows 63.2 points per game while also averaging 5.9 blocks per contest.
1. Bamba leads the Big 12 in blocks (four per game) and rebounds.
2. The Bulldogs’ three losses - Alabama, Stephen F. Austin and in-state rival Louisiana - are by a combined nine points.
3. Without Jones’ 43.2-percent shooting clip from the 3-point line, Texas’ team average drops to 24.8 percent.
PREDICTION: Texas 72, Louisiana Tech 68