After a season full of ups and downs, Texas ends their season as NIT Champions. After beating the opponents of South Dakota State, Xavier, Colorado, and TCU, they faced a capable Lipscomb team. Shaka Smart’s shift to a defensive-minded approach has helped them be successful in the NIT. Luckily for Texas, their defense controlled tonight’s game.
Texas finished the first half on a positive note. The Longhorns’ game plan of using Courtney Ramey to shut down Lipscomb’s leader Garrison Mathews (21.0 PPG) worked, as he only had 3 points at the half. Texas also forced Lipscomb to 12 first half turnovers compared to their 5, highlighted by their 8 steals.
Texas also shot decent, finishing the half with a 40.6% FG percentage (13-32) and a 29.4% 3-PT percentage (5-17). Although Lipscomb shot well, the turnovers Texas forced eliminated the opportunities they had. Lipscomb’s Rob Marberry led the team in scoring in the first half with 12 points. Texas carried a 14-point lead into the half, up 41-27.
Seniors on Fire. – Dylan Osetkowski and Kerwin Roach II both had a strong first half. Osetkowski finished with 15 points, complimented by 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists. Roach finished with 6 points, 6 assists and 2 steals. The seniors had a large presence on the last game of their collegiate basketball careers.
Despite an early push by Lipscomb, where the Bison cut the lead from 14 points to 7, Texas took care of business in the second half. Lipscomb’s Mathews found his rhythm, mostly from the free throw line, and finished with 15 points (10-10 from the line).
The Longhorns were hot from behind the line in the second half, as they made 13 three-point shots on the night. This played a large role in propelling four Longhorns to double digits in points. Dylan Osetkowski finished with 19 points, Jase Febres finished with 17 points, Kerwin Roach II finished 16 points, and Matt Coleman III finished with 11 points.
Freshman Gerald Liddell was able to contribute in this game and tournament, which will greatly help his confidence moving forward. He finished the night with 7 points, 2 rebounds and 1 block.
Although Ramey’s stats do not reflect it, he had a great night shutting down Lipscomb’s Garrison Mathews (2-10 from the field). If he is able to consistently lock down sharp-shooters and improve his offensive composure, his ceiling for next year is very high.
Roach and Osetkowski played outstanding in their last games wearing Texas uniforms. Roach finished with 16 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals, while Osetkowski finished with a double-double, tallying 19 points and 11 rebounds in addition to 5 assists and 3 steals. While Roach had some issues this year, his performance in the NIT has reflected what he has always been capable of. Osetkowski’s performance in the tournament was a display of his determination and leadership. The team rallied around both of these guys to win the NIT, which the Longhorns last accomplished in 1978.
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