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No. 19 Texas seeks another strong defensive showing vs. LSU


No. 19 Texas will hope defense is the difference again when it squares off against LSU in a matchup of future Southeastern Conference foes Saturday afternoon in Houston.

The Longhorns (7-2) fell from No. 12 to No. 19 in the latest AP Top 25 poll. They were handed an 86-65 defeat by then-No. 8 Marquette before beating Houston Christian 77-50 at home last Saturday.

In the latter, Texas allowed its fewest points in a game this season, nabbed a season-high 13 steals and forced 16 Houston Christian turnovers that it converted into 20 points.

“You have to continue to just have a mentality that we’re not trying to trade baskets,” Texas coach Rodney Terry said. “We’re trying to get separation and a lot of times early in our journey this season we’ve been able to get separation through our defense, and offense from our defense, just sitting down, guarding hard and having a mentality to where it’s personal individually and personal as a team.”

The Longhorns also held Houston Baptist to 30.3 percent shooting and forged a 48-30 advantage in points in the paint.

Texas got 16 points from Max Abmas, with seven coming in a decisive late first-half surge in which Texas scored 19 straight points. Abmas leads the Longhorns in scoring at 17.6 points per game and is hitting 40.6 percent of his 3-pointers.

Kadin Shedrick added 15 points for Texas, while Dillon Mitchell racked up 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Tyrese Hunter had 12 points. All nine Texas players who saw the court scored.

The Tigers (6-4) head to the Bayou City for the neutral-site contest after a come-from-behind 74-56 win over Alabama State at home on Wednesday.

Mike Williams III led LSU with 15 points, 13 of which came after halftime. Jordan Wright hit four 3-pointers and finished with 13 points, Jalen Reed added 13 and Trae Hannibal contributed 11 to help lift the Tigers from a 34-30 halftime deficit and get back on the winning track.

Williams hit the jumper that gave LSU the lead for good as part of a 13-0 charge that leapfrogged the Tigers to a 48-40 advantage with 13:57 to go.

“I was really excited about our second-half performance,” LSU coach Matt McMahon said. “Really loved the energy and the effort our guys came out of the locker room with. We were able to be a little more disruptive in our full-court pressure there.

“We had some great individual performances from guys who really stepped forward and earned their time tonight.”

LSU outscored Alabama State 44-22 in the second half and shot 15 of 26 from the field in that span.

The Tigers could be bolstered on Saturday if high-scoring guard Jalen Cook is in the lineup. Cook, a transfer from Tulane, wasn’t cleared in time for Wednesday’s game after a ruling by the U.S. District Court granted a temporary restraining order for two-time transfers waiting on a waiver from the NCAA.

“My understanding is he’s fully cleared and ready to go on Saturday,” McMahon said. “Really happy for him.”

LSU leads the all-time series with the Longhorns 20-11, including a 69-67 win in Austin in 2020 in the most recent meeting.

–Field Level Media

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