Texas offense needs work after 59-52 loss to Michigan

The Texas Longhorns are expected to get an earful from Coach Shaka Smart in coming days.

Smart just might be in the players’ ears and in their faces through Saturday, when they host Louisiana Tech at the Erwin Center.

The coach said as much after Michigan throttled Texas 59-52 on Tuesday night.

Smart’s message? Stay with the game plan, even when adversity strikes.

“I think that the things that we didn’t do, in terms of following our plan, that stuff needs to be exposed on film and that stuff needs to be hammered hard,” Smart told reporters. “Because regardless of the opponent, the stuff we planned and worked to do in practice, that has to be carried over into the game.

“That (plan) could be different from game to game, but our willingness to go and execute that stuff, through whatever happens, must be better.”

Leading into the Michigan game, Texas planned for the absence of its leading scorer, Andrew Jones, who is out with a hairline fracture in his right wrist.

In the aftermath, they learned that the adjustment won’t be easy.

At the outset against the Wolverines, the Longhorns played well on the defensive end. But a 2-0 lead after the first four minutes easily could have been 10-0 or more.

As the Longhorns sputtered, the Wolverines started to find a rhythm. They started hitting shots and surged into a 32-20 halftime lead.

Texas got within three once in the second half, but couldn’t dig out of the hole. The offense, without Jones on the floor, never got untracked for any extended period of time.

On top of that, Michigan occasionally would hit a difficult shot or would take advantage of a defensive breakdown, and the body language on the floor for Texas would sag again.

Smart traced it to not staying with original plan.

“With young guys like some of our freshmen, young guys that haven’t played a lot, it’s certainly understandable that that might affect them, but it’s not acceptable, the coach said. “There’s a difference between those two things and we have to understand that to whom much is given, when there’s an opportunity, much is expected, of all of us.

“And it starts with me.”

Texas center Mohamed Bamba who finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, said he can do more on the offensive end.

“I can definitely be more aggressive, get fouled more and just throw my body around, he said.

A case could be made that Bamba, a lithe, 6-foot-11 post, might benefit from getting a few more touches on the perimeter, facing the basket.

But, in the meantime, the heralded first-year player from New York said he needs to attack more from the low post.

“In high school, you don’t have guys who are 6-10 and 200-and-whatever pounds,” he said. “That’s one of the things we have the liberty of practicing against.

“We have to go up against DO (Dylan Osetkowski), James (Banks III), Jericho (Sims) and Royce (Hamm Jr.)

“When game time comes it’s a little bit easier, because there are fouls being called,” Bamba said. “But I still have to keep that aggressive mindset and keep attacking.”

Guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman paced the Wolverines with a double-double, producing 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Charles Matthews finished with 12 points, while Moritz Wagner and Duncan Robinson had 10 each for the Wolverines (9-3).

Texas (6-3) didn’t have as many players show up on offense as the coaching staff would have liked.

Osetkowski hit 6 of 11 from the field and scored 17. Guard Kerwin Roach II added 11 points on 4 of 8. Bamba, for his part, was 4 of 10 from the floor.

Michigan coach John Beilein said he thinks the Texas coaching staff will figure out how to adjust without Jones, a sophomore from Arlington.

“Hopefully Jones won’t be out too long, but watch other people just get better as they go through this,” he said. “We went through this three years in a row — your other guys get better and coach may have to change some things here and there.

“It’s hard to change that immediately, but Shaka (Smart) will find a way.