Texas is among the nation’s best rebounding teams, but it gave up too many second chances in a narrow defeat to conclude non-conference play.
The 12th-ranked Longhorns haven’t had a problem in that area or many others recently against their next opponent, Texas Tech.
In its Big 12 opener, Texas will try to record its fifth straight win over the host Red Raiders on Tuesday night.
Texas has averaged 42.9 rebounds this season but found itself on the wrong end of a 52-42 margin Saturday at home against Connecticut. The Longhorns limited the then-No. 8 Huskies to 38.1 percent shooting, but allowed 23 offensive rebounds and 24 second-chance points in an 82-81 overtime loss which snapped a six-game win streak.
“I can say we did some good things but when you give up 23 offensive rebounds, you can’t feel good about that,” coach Rick Barnes said.
The Longhorns (12-3, 0-0) have outrebounded Texas Tech (8-8, 0-1) in each of the past four wins in the series. Texas had 18 offensive rebounds and amassed a 44-30 edge overall in a 71-67 victory last season in Lubbock.
The Longhorns had won the previous three meetings by an average of 13.3 points, including 95-83 in Austin on Jan. 27. Texas has claimed 26 of 29 matchups with the Red Raiders, including 11 of 13 in Lubbock.
This time, the Longhorns will face a team that’s lost eight straight in Big 12 play dating to last season and coming off a 71-59 defeat to Baylor on Saturday at home. John Roberson had 14 points off the bench during his team’s worst scoring performance of the season and second-worst shooting performance (35.8 percent)
Leading scorer Mike Singletary finished with 12 points despite going 2 for 10 from the field. The senior forward, averaging a team-best 13.7 points, was 17 of 31 (54.8 percent) in his three previous games.
Singletary had 20 points and Roberson scored 27 in the loss at Texas, but Singletary had 12 of the duo’s combined 14 points in the defeat at home.
Gary Johnson led the Longhorns with 22 points off the bench in that game and scored 15 as a starter in his previous game at Texas Tech, a 71-49 rout on Jan. 17, 2009.
The Red Raiders have gone 7-26 in Big 12 play since the start of the 2008-09 season, adding pressure on coach Pat Knight. Texas, meanwhile, will attempt to improve on last season’s disappointing 9-7 finish.
The Longhorns were ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history last Jan. 11 but went 9-10 from there en route to a first-round exit from the NCAA tournament.
“We’ve got a chance to get so much better,” Barnes told the school’s website. “We’ve got a group of guys who care. … We’ve learned from every game, and as long as we keep growing, I think we can be really good. We’re not there yet. But I do - I think we can be a really good basketball team.”
Texas leads the series 72-53.