Osetkowski leads Texas past Louisiana Tech 75-60
By MARK ROSNER
Dec. 16, 2017
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Shaka Smart prefers not to consider life without Dylan Osetkowski, the Texas Longhorns' 6-foot-9 forward.
Or as the Texas coach put it, "I don't even want to put those negative things in the universe."
Osetkowski, a junior, contributed a season-best 22 points, seven rebounds and two steals and Texas defeated Louisiana Tech 75-60 Saturday afternoon.
The day wasn't completely successful for the 245-pound Osetkowski. He committed seven of the Longhorns' 18 turnovers. "That was piss poor," Osetkowski said of his turnovers.
Even so, Smart said, "He's like a connective tissue for us. He brings a lot of things together."
Osetkowski said he had only one scholarship offer from an NCAA Division I school coming out of high school. He averaged 8.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in two seasons at Tulane. Then he moved to Texas, sat out last season under NCAA rules governing transfers, and averages 15.1 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Against Tech, Osetkowski made three 3-point baskets in the first half. Then he played more inside during the second half, making two baskets and five free throws. The 22 points against Louisiana Tech are one fewer than his career best.
"We knew Osetkowski was going to be a matchup problem," Tech coach Eric Konkol said. "With his size and versatility, he was a game changer."
Osetkowski said he benefited from taking a season off.
"Day to day work with coach Smart on the mental aspect that he always talks about, and the physical aspect," Osetkowski said. "My game has just gone through the roof. My mental toughness has gone through the roof."
Freshman center Mo Bamba added 14 points, nine rebounds and five blocks for Texas (7-3) in 18 minutes, and did his most of his effective work in the second half.
Sophomore Daquan Bracey scored 20 of his career-best 24 in the second half for Tech (7-4), and gave the Bulldogs a chance after they trailed by 17 late in the first half.
Bracey, who used hard drives to the basket and scored nine straight points, sliced the Texas lead to four midway through the second half.
But Texas responded with two baskets inside by freshman Jericho Sims.
Louisiana Tech: Turnovers are a statistic indicative of whether the Bulldogs win or lose. They average an impressive 11.7 in their seven victories. But in four defeats they average 16, including 15 against Texas.
"We didn't take care of the basketball," Konkol said. "We have to clean that up."
Texas: Guard Andrew Jones, the Longhorns' leading scorer and most accurate 3-point shooter, missed his second straight game with a hairline fracture of his right wrist. Junior Eric Davis started the first game Jones missed, and went 0 for 5 from the field during a loss to Michigan. He didn't play against Louisiana Tech because of a right wrist injury, Smart said, adding that Davis probably could have played. Sophomore Jacob Young received the starting assignment and scored 10 points.
"I thought Jacob did a nice job," Smart said.
HELP FROM THE BENCH
Jericho Sims, a 6-foot-9 freshman, had nine points and eight rebounds for Texas in 20 minutes, filling in ably while Bamba was on the bench in foul trouble much of the game.
POOR SHOOTING FROM TECH
In four games before facing Texas, Tech shot 53 percent from the field, including 51 percent on 3-pointers. The numbers against Texas: 33.9 and 24 percent. Guards Jacobi Boykins and Jalen Harris, who combine to average more than 30 points a game, scored 10 between them against Texas. They converted 4 of 20 shots.
Louisiana Tech faces Alabama State on Thursday at the New Orleans Shootout.
Texas hosts Tennessee State on Monday night.