A victory over Purdue was nice, but UT needs more from Roach

Coach Shaka Smart has stocked the Texas Longhorns with enough talent that senior guard Kerwin Roach II doesn’t necessarily need to lead the team every night.

But for the Longhorns to reach their potential this season, Roach will need to play better than he has been playing lately.

Which is to say, not all that great.

Roach is at the center of one of the early mysteries to the new season.

In the state of Texas, few players have the athleticism that Roach can bring to the floor every night.

His skills were on full display on Nov. 22 when he scored 32 points to help the Longhorns defeat the seventh-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels.

In addition to his 12 of 15 shooting against the Heels, he also produced seven assists, six rebounds and four steals.

Since then, his offensive efficiency has declined dramatically.

Over the past four games, including Texas’ 72-68 home victory over Purdue on Sunday night, Roach has hit only 21 percent of his shots from the field.

Yes, Matt Coleman, Dylan Osetkowski and freshman phenom Jaxson Hayes can, and should, be leading on a nightly basis.

The Longhorns can win their share of games in the upcoming Big 12 race with those three playing well.

But, no matter how you slice it, 9 of 43 from the field from Roach over a four-game stretch is not going to inspire much confidence leading into conference.

Shooting 80 percent shouldn’t be expected every night. But, some consistency would be a welcome sight for the fans.

Texas, minus its top scorer, prepares to host Michigan

Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart speculated Monday that guard Andrew Jones would be out “at least the next few games” before Christmas with a hairline fracture in his right wrist.

Jones is Texas’ leading scorer at 15.3 points per game.

The Longhorns (6-2) host the Michigan Wolverines (8-3) tonight at the Erwin Center.

The game will be carried on ESPN2 starting at 8 p.m.

In meeting with reporters Monday in Austin, Smart didn’t understate the impact the injury could have on his team.

“Obviously it’s a tough injury for us because he’s our leading scorer and has just done a phenomenal job for us this year,” the coach said. “But we’re really excited and hopeful about getting him back as quick as we can.

“In the short term, it’s one of the reasons you have a team with depth and (it’s) why you bring guys in to step up and be part of something that’s larger than themselves.

“We’re going to need everyone on our team, not just guards, but everyone on our team to step up and take (on) a little more responsibility.”

Forward Dylan Ostetkowski (14.0), guard Kerwin Roach II (11.1) and center Mohamed Bamba (10.7) are Texas’ next three top scorers.

Jones, a sophomore from Irving, suffered the injury in Texas’ 71-67 victory at Virginia Commonwealth last Tuesday.

Junior forward Moritz Wagner (16.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg) leads the Wolverines, who have lost to LSU on a neutral site and to North Carolina and Ohio State on the road.

In its last outing, Michigan won at home on Saturday, beating UCLA 78-69 in overtime.

The Wolverines trailed the Bruins by 15 in the second half and then rallied for a win that will supply substantial momentum leading into Austin.