Bamba scores 24 as Texas throttles Iowa State, 73-57

The Texas Longhorns refused to let a lost weekend in West Virginia keep them down for long.

Playing at home in Austin, UT hammered Iowa State 73-57 Monday night behind freshman center Mo Bamba’s career-high 24 points.

Two days ago, the seventh-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers crushed the Longhorns, 86-51.

After an attitude check and a road trip back home, UT (13-7, 4-4 in the Big 12) spanked Iowa State, leading for the entire 40 minutes.

Referencing the game in Morgantown, Bamba told reporters Monday night, “It was obviously a tough loss. It was a quick turnaround, and we kind of had to go into self-reflection mode and just build off of what we could have done better.”

Added Bamba, in comments posted on UT’s website, “Our motto coming into this was ‘Someone has to pay for it.’ Unfortunately for Iowa State, it was them, but the league is very competitive, and you don’t want to go on a losing streak.”

Iowa State (11-8, 2-6) fell behind by 11 at intermission, regrouped over the first seven minutes of the second half to pull within six, then faded.

Nick Weiler-Babb’s three-point shot for Iowa State made it 49-43 with 12:53 remaining.

At that point, Texas responded with a dunk from Kerwin Roach II, a three from the 6-11 Bamba and jumper by Eric Davis Jr., pushing the lead to 13.

The Cyclones never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

Texas entered Monday night’s game projected by at least one statistical analysis as a low-seed in NCAA tournament.

If the Longhorns make the NCAA field, it will be because of their defense, as they have held nine foes to fewer than 60 points.

Of course, without guard Andrew Jones, who is stricken with leukemia, the Longhorns will need higher-level performances from everyone.

Bamba seems to be playing harder and with better efficiency.

“I thought tonight was about as clean of a game as he’s played in terms of efficiency,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “For those of you guys who were giving me a hard time about his threes, he was 2-for-2. He can make the shot. It’s a weapon for us if teams are going to leave him wide open.

Next up for Texas is a non-conference home game Saturday against Ole Miss.

Next week, the Longhorns travel to play at 14th-ranked Texas Tech and return home to face No. 12 Oklahoma.

The OU game is set for 5 p.m. on Feb. 3 in Austin.