Austin, TX – On a Saturday afternoon that saw career individual performances for both teams, the Texas Longhorns used a strong second half performance to earn an 85-72 victory over the visiting Ole Miss Rebels.
The Rebels and Longhorns traded baskets for much of the opening half before Texas’ size inside became too much to handle. Dominik Olejniczak’s performance off the bench was one of the big reasons the Rebels were able to keep the game within reach as he scored 14 of his 16 points (career high) in the first half. After leading by three points midway through the half, the Rebels began to fade resulting in a 45-36 deficit heading into the break.
In the second half, the Longhorns press defense and length proved too much for the Rebels to handle. In a pivotal 5:34 stretch in the second half, Ole Miss scored just one point and shot 0-for-12 from the floor. Mohamed Bamba had three of his game-high four blocks during that stretch.
Bamba continues to improve and impress as his freshman season has progressed. As part of his career high point total (25), he also recorded career highs in both free throw makes and attempts (12-for-13). With another double-double performance under his belt, Bamba is now averaging 12.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game to go along with 4.4 blocks. His improvement on the interior is noticeable as he is showing the ability to not only seal defenders in the post, but make teams pay for being overly aggressive. His confidence has grown when taking the ball to the rim resulting in more opportunities at the free-throw line.
Dylan Osetkowski has a strong night on the offensive end scoring in a variety of ways. Setting the tone early four offensive put backs, Osetkowski ended the game with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. One of Osetkowski’s most impressive tools is his ability to find open shooters and cutters with crisp passes resulting in easy scoring opportunities. He plays with an infectious energy on both ends of the floor, and has the leadership qualities that are so important for a team that is starting three freshman.
In the absence of Andrew Jones, Kerwin Roach II’s is taking full advantage of his increased role. The junior guard showcased his skills as a playmaker in the Texas offense being aggressive with his dribble and finding open teammates in traffic. With the ball in his hands more, Roach has had the opportunity to highlight more of his shooting repertoire off the dribble – specifically in pick-and-roll scenarios.
The Rebels leading scorer this season, Deandre Burnett, showed off his range on the offensive end of the floor. A natural off-ball guard, Burnett is able to find the open space in the defense for open shooting opportunities and is an excellent three-point shooter off the catch. In additional, Burnett showcased an impressive arsenal of dribble/drive combinations that ended with high quality opportunities near the rim.
Texas (14-7) will head to Lubbock, Texas to take on Texas Tech Wednesday, January 31. Ole Miss (11-10) will host the Auburn Tigers on Tuesday, January 30.
This article was written by Justin Ullestad, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. We are looking for those interested in our basketball scout certification program. For information contact us and forward your resume.