No. 8 Texas carries a three-game winning streak built on solid defense into a unique throwback contest against visiting Sam Houston on Monday in Austin, Texas.
The game will be played at Gregory Gymnasium on the University of Texas campus, with attendance limited to Texas students as part of coach Chris Beard’s move to focus on the tradition and past of Texas basketball.
It’s the first time the Longhorns have played a men’s basketball regular-season contest at the historic edifice in 45 years. Gregory Gym served as the home of Texas basketball from the 1930-31 season through the 1976-77 campaign.
The Longhorns (4-1) head into the throwback game after a 68-44 home win over California Baptist on Wednesday. Timmy Allen and Andrew Jones both registered 15 points for Texas, with Courtney Ramey and Christian Bishop adding 12 apiece in the win.
The Longhorns limited California Baptist to 40.5 percent shooting from the floor and just 2 of 16 on its 3-point shots. California Baptist entered the game averaging 80.0 points per game while hitting a combined 50.2 percent from the floor, including a 39.6 percent mark from beyond the arc.
“It was our best defensive game of the year, there’s no doubt about it,” Beard said. “Anybody who knows about basketball sees that.”
It’s the third straight game that Texas has held opponents to fewer than 50 points. The Longhorns allowed just six assists while forcing 23 turnovers and registered a 25-11 advantage in points off turnovers versus California Baptist.
Jones said the Longhorns still have a way to go on offense.
“It’s going to take some more time,” he explained. “As soon as our defense ramps up a little bit more, our offense is going to thrive even more. I’ve got to take a little bit more pride in not getting scored on, and the entire team. Our offense is going to come.”
Beard is still working to figure out a solid rotation among a dozen players who have made an impact this already this season.
“I confidently tell you that everybody on our active roster, 12 players right now, and everybody’s in play here,” Beard said. “We’re not settled on a rotation yet, and I don’t consider that a bad thing.”
Sam Houston (2-4) travels west to Austin after a 75-66 loss at SMU on Wednesday, its second straight defeat in their third game in a four-day stretch. The Bearkats trailed by 24 points but clawed to within six in the final minutes before running out of time.
Sam Houston was led by Savion Flagg’s 21 points and 11 rebounds, the second double-double of the season for the transfer from Texas A&M. Demarkus Lampley added 16 points and Tristan Ikpe grabbed 13 rebounds for the Bearkats in the loss.
“When we ran our offense we were good,” Sam Houston coach Jason Hooten said. “Other times we have to move it better and make more passes. When we can get on the same page and run it the way I want to run it, this team reminds me of the 2019 team.”
The Bearkats moved from the Southland Conference to the Western Athletic Conference for basketball this season and were picked in the preseason to finish seventh in their new league.
–Field Level Media