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Hoops Preview: Tennessee State (by Jameson McCausland)

Harrison Wier

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Texas (7-3) will return to the court tonight when they host Tennessee State at the Frank Erwin Center. The Longhorns are coming off a 75-60 win over Louisiana Tech just 2 days ago. Shaka Smart will again be without the services of his leading scorer, Andrew Jones, who is still nursing a right wrist injury. Fellow guard Eric Davis Jr. is also dealing with a right wrist injury of his own, and is considered questionable for tonight’s contest after missing Saturday’s game.

Tennessee State comes to Austin with a 5-4 record on the season. The Tigers were dismantled by Kansas in their opening game of the season, 92-56, and later dropped an overtime game to Lipscomb, whom the Longhorns beat 80-57 earlier this season. Guard Delano Spencer will serve as the Tiger’s main scoring option. Spencer is averaging 15.7 points per game while shooting 42.4% from three and 88.2% from the free throw line. The Tigers will deploy some height and length down low in the form of 6’9″ forwards Christian Mekowulu and Ken’Darrius Hamilton. Mekowulu is averaging nearly a double-double per game this season (11.4 points and 9.6 rebounds). Tennessee State has struggled putting up points at times, including a 54-point output in their last game – a 64-54 loss to North Carolina A&T.

Following the win over Louisiana Tech, Shaka Smart emphasized how much the team is working on getting the ball to the big men and how he wants to continue to see his players prioritize getting the ball inside the paint to Mo Bamba, Dylan Osetkowski and Jericho Simms. Despite being in foul trouble for most of the game against Louisiana Tech, Bamba collected 14 points and 9 rebounds. If Texas is without the services of Eric Davis, expect Jacob Young to see extended minutes. Young played a season high 27 minutes on Saturday, contributing 10 points and 3 assistants.

The game will tip off at 8 PM CST and will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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