Austin, TX – After last weekend’s drubbing of Grand Canyon, the Texas Longhorns were unable to replicate that offensive performance in a 71-65 losing effort against the Providence Friars. The Longhorns are 6-0 on the year when scoring 70 points or more. Conversely, Texas is just 1-3 when scoring below that threshold.
From the opening tip, the Friars controlled the tempo of the game with methodical offensive sets that required Longhorn defenders to chase around screens all evening. Providence started the game hitting four of their first six shots running out to an early lead – a lead that they would never relinquish.
The second half of play mirrored the efforts of the first. Providence was in control on both ends of the court despite the Longhorns going to their press defense throughout the period. The Friars defense forced Texas ball-handlers to beat their defenders in isolation situations as Providence clogged up passing lanes and successfully fought through ball screens all game long.
After back-to-back solid shooting performances from behind-the-arc, the Longhorns’ regressed back to the mean shooting just 25 percent in Friday’s game. However, that did not deter Texas from shooting from deep range logging 24 shot attempts. Texas has attempted 304 three point shots this season which is the most in the Big 12 Conference. They are successfully completing those attempts at a 32 percent clip which would rank them eighth in the conference.
Alpha Diallo quietly scored 20 points in the Friar victory – the sixth time this season reaching the 20 point mark. Although he doesn’t “wow” teams with his athleticism, he has the size and length to defend multiple positions as well get his shot up and over most defenders. He’s an excellent passer from both the elbow and the nail. He will need to continue to add strength as he can be knocked off his spot by bigger defenders. Diallo showed a smooth jumper tonight which he needs to get more consistent and is unphased in crucial game situations.
Although in foul trouble for much of the game, Jaxson Hayes was able to put his stamp on Friday’s game in limited minutes. His aggressiveness at the rim on both ends of the court kept the Longhorns energized. A superb athlete, Hayes explodes to the rim when getting lob passes thrown his way. He has also proven himself to be a quality shot blocker this season. Hayes has shown the ability to run the floor but needs to do it more consistently. His screen-and-roll technique will need to improve to continue getting him quality looks as teams have adjusted how they defend him. Hayes plays with a lot of passion when he is engaged. He finished with 13 points, three rebounds and two blocks.
Texas (7-4) will finish their three-game home stand next Friday (12/28) against UT Arlington. Providence (10-3) will head home to take on Creighton in their conference opener on New Year’s Eve (12/31).