Osetkowski leads Texas over Louisiana-Monroe 65-55
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — With an offense developing in fits and starts and going long stretches without baskets, Texas isn’t exactly pretty, but the Longhorns are undefeated to start the season.
Monday night was the latest example of coach Shaka Smart’s work in progress: a 65-55 win over scrappy Louisiana-Monroe that Texas didn’t control until midway through the second half.
Dylan Osetkowski scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Texas. Elijah Mitrou-Long scored all nine of his points in the second half and his 3-pointer started a 16-0 run that allowed the Longhorns to pull away.
“Our guys are still trying to figure out how to play together,” Smart said. “I’m excited about where we’re going ... I like that our guys have found ways to win games that we didn’t necessarily play our best.
“The key is to win and grow,” Smart said.
Texas (3-0) led 30-29 at halftime and the game was tied at 43 until Mitrou-Long, a transfer guard from Mount St. Mary’s, knocked down his 3-pointer to beat the shot clock. Osetkowski’s reverse layup and free throw put Texas up by 10 and the Longhorns were finally in firm control.
Kerwin Roach II scored 13 points and had six assists for Texas.
“We’ve got a variety of guys who can score,” Mitrou-Long said. “Offensively, we’re not really worried if the ball is going to go in or not. We’re still going to shoot it. We all have confidence in each other.”
Michael Ertel led Louisiana-Monroe (2-1) with 16 points.
Smart has mixed in some pressing defense early this season and the Longhorns turned 15 turnovers into 20 points. Warhawks coach Keith Richard said Texas turned the game with a switch to a zone defense in the second half that denied the Warhawks drives to the basket.
Even Richard noted Texas is still looking for some kind of identity on offense.
“Obviously great size. Obviously talent. But are they a great driving team or are they a great post-up team or a great 3-point shooting team? What are they?” Richard said. “That will be the question.”
Louisiana-Monroe: The Warhawks sorely missed leading scorer Daishon Smith, their top 3-point shooter. He didn’t play against the Longhorns because of a hamstring injury and the Warhawks were 4 of 16 from 3-point range without him. They needed him to shoot over Texas’ zone defense in the second half.
“I wish I had to do it all over again. I would’ve done it differently. I would have told ’em, ‘Move it, move it, shoot a 3,’” Richard said. “We should have had (Smith) out there.”
Texas: The Longhorns didn’t get much offensively from players Smart will be counting on in the Big 12. Roach, who Texas depends on as a catalyst on both ends of the floor, was 6-of-15 shooting. Point guard Matt Coleman III had five points, two assists and three turnovers. Jericho Sims, who may be one of the most athletic forwards in the Big 12, was a non-factor with three points.
The Longhorns had a lot of pretty passing that set up a lot of missed shots.
“Some of our best guys haven’t played their best,” Smart said. “We’ve got to get those guys playing better.”
CLEANING IT UP
In Texas’ first two games, the Longhorns averaged 15 turnovers. They had just six against the Warhawks. Osetkowski had nine in the first two games and none Monday night.
Texas 6-foot-11 freshman Jaxson Hayes again showed flashes of real potential with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks in 26 minutes. Hayes barely played as a junior in high school and didn’t blossom as a basketball recruit until a growth spurt before his senior season.
The Warhawks have just started a run of five consecutive road games. They play at No. 11 Michigan State on Wednesday
The Longhorns host The Citadel on Friday in their final tuneup before facing No. 7 North Carolina next week.