AUSTIN (AP) – After the Texas Longhorns missed 12 of 13 3-point shot attempts in the first half, coach Shaka Smart suggested that they make a stronger effort to score inside.
The result was incredible accuracy and an 82-58 victory against Florida A&M (1-8) after the Longhorns (5-2) held just a nine-point lead at the half.
“We shot 75 percent in the second half,” Smart said. “We’ll take that any day of the week.”
Dylan Osetkowski scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half. The 6-foot-9 Osetkowski repeatedly drove to the basket, converting all six of his field-goal attempts in the half.
Osetkowski, a junior who transferred to Texas after two seasons at Tulane, grabbed eight rebounds, with all of his production in 21 minutes of competition.
“We had a big advantage inside, and we go where the mismatch is,” Texas guard Andrew Jones said. “Dylan was unstoppable tonight.”
Osetkowski did not quite agree.
“I wouldn’t say unstoppable,” Osetkowski said. “I had three missed shots and had three turnovers.”
Texas attempted only six 3-pointers in the second half, hitting three.
Jones supplemented Osetkowski with 14 points, converting 6 of 8 shots. Kerwin Roach II scored 11 for Texas, while the 6-11 Mohamed Bamba contributed 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Desmond Williams led Florida A&M with 21 points. Isaiah Martin added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Florida A&M committed 17 turnovers against Texas’ defensive pressure, some of it a full-court press, and the Longhorns turned those into 20 points.
“We were physically overwhelmed,” Florida A&M coach Robert McCullum said. “They are a talented team. They’ve got size. They have the ability to impact the game with their full-court defense. With their length and size, they can impact the game in the half court as well.”
Florida A&M: The Rattlers, who rank near the bottom nationally in several offensive categories, hung around against Texas part way into the second half thanks to their hustle, six 3-point baskets to that point, and the Longhorns’ inept performance on 3-pointers and free throws (10 of 23). A&M trailed by 12 with 13 minutes remaining but soon fell behind by 21.
One thing that does not make life easier for the Rattlers is that 14 of their 16 non-conference games are on the road. McCullum said that approach is largely to produce a revenue stream for the athletic department from payments that home teams give to visitors. McCullum is in his first season as coach and arrived after the schedule was completed. He said all that time on the road is not fair to his players academically.
“Going forward, we won’t play as many of those games, and certainly not play them back to back to back, as we have done,” McCullum said.
Texas: The Longhorns rank last in the Big 12 Conference in 3-point shooting accuracy, so opponents, including Florida A&M, often don’t bother to guard them out there. Their 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) shooting against the Rattlers was worse than their mark of 28 percent before this game. That futility can have an adverse effect on the Longhorns’ interior offense.
“It changes the way people guard you,” Smart said. “A lot of teams, if they don’t think you can make a shot, they are going to dare you to shoot and pack (their defense) inside.”
As a result, the Longhorns find a crowd in the lane when the guards try to drive and the big men post up near the basket.
OTHER SHOOTING WOES
Texas is not just poor from 3-point range. That 10-of-23 shooting from the line left the Longhorns at 62 percent for the season, easily the worst in the Big 12.
A TEXAS LETDOWN
Smart said the Longhorns were a bit mentally fatigued against Florida A&M after losing games in overtime to No. 1 Duke and then-No. 17 Gonzaga on Saturday and Sunday.
“I didn’t think we showed the level of competitive maturity that we need to have,” Smart said. “Dylan, he did a lot of great things, but he also was a space cadet at times.”
Florida A&M is at Murray State on Saturday.
Texas is at Virginia Commonwealth on Tuesday as Longhorns’ coach Shaka Smart returns to the school he coached from 2009-15 and led to the 2011 NCAA Final Four.
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