The Longhorns struggled the entire evening to find any sense of consistency or flow on the offensive end. Texas began the game 0-for-11 from behind the three-point line and went without a point for over six minutes in the first half. Both the team’s field goal percentage (35.3% ) and three point percentage (14.3%) were season lows.
However, the Longhorns’ defense was full of energy as they utilized a full-court press for most of the game resulting in 25 team steals. Texas showcased why they are one of the top defensive units in the Big 12 Conference this season holding another opponent under 40 percent shooting from the field (six times in 11 games).
Although sophomore Kerwin Roach II only scored 12 points, each one of his three made baskets came at huge moments in the game including the go-ahead basket with 0:11 remaining in the game. His active hands and ball pressure on the defensive end led to a season high four steals. Roach showed a poise and confidence that has been growing through the first 11 games.
The Tigers’ swarming defense made it difficult for the Texas offense to get the ball inside for easy opportunities – forcing the ball to the wings / baseline and immediately trapping the Texas ball handlers. Tennessee State led for a good portion of the game and had a one- point lead with 1:32 remaining on the clock.
Christian Mekowulu was a force on Monday evening taking full advantage of his size and strength in the paint. Along with his 15 points, he fought for every rebound (11) grabbing six on the offensive glass. Mekowulu showed no fear matching up with Texas center Mohamad Bamba bullying him on the block on a few occasions and blocking multiple shots.
Texas (8-3) will head to Birmingham to take on the University of Alabama as part of the Vulcan Classic on Friday, December 22. Tennessee State (5-5) will continue their six-game road trip taking on the Purdue Boilermakers this Thursday.
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