Men’s Hoops Prepares for a Homestand

ShakaSmartWeb

Texas men’s basketball is finally done traveling abroad. The Horns returned from the Bahamas on November 28 after going 1-2 in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Texas started the tournament against its old rival, Texas A&M, and lost 84-73. In the second game, the Horns got to redeem themselves against Washington with an 82-70 win. The last game of the tournament was a close one against Michigan, with the Wolverines pulling out the 78-72 win.

While this was not the ideal outcome for the Horns in the Bahamas, fans should remain hopeful. The inability to shoot in China did not carry over to the Bahamas, as the Horns shot over 40 percent from field goal range in all three games.

Freshman Eric Davis Jr. really stole the spotlight. Davis had 19 points off the bench against A&M, 15 points off the bench against Washington, and 12 points off the bench against his home team, Michigan. This performance led Davis to win Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, and it’s also the reason Davis was such a big recruit out of high school. Head coach Shaka Smart called him one of the best shooters on the team. Even though Davis came off of the bench, he played about the same amount of minutes as the starters. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the starting lineup soon.

Another huge performance in the islands came from big man Cam Ridley. The senior, who also goes by Big Cheese, was a dominating factor for the Horns. Ridley started in all three games and racked up a double-double in the win over Washington with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Ridley had 14 points against A&M and 12 against Michigan. Big Cheese showed he is a force for this Texas team, a dominating factor on both the offensive and defense side of the ball, and he seems to have every intention of having a standout senior season.

An issue for the Horns down the line is going to be foul trouble. Texas racked up 31 personal fouls against A&M, 25 against Washington, and 15 against Michigan. College basketball added some new foul rules before the season. Now, a defender hand-checking the offensive player is a big no-no. Essentially, the defensive techniques these players have used their entire lives are now illegal—hence the high number of personal fouls. This will take time to get used to, especially for the big men.

Luckily for Texas fans, the basketball team’s world tour is finally over. The Horns return to Frank Erwin Center tonight to face UT-Arlington. UTA is currently 5-1, but Texas is favored by 10 points nonetheless. The game will air on Longhorn Network for those who can’t make it to Erwin Center. The Horns play again at home on Friday against Samford. This, too, will be on LHN.

Photo courtesy UT Athletics.

 

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