Lipscomb guard Garrison Mathews reacts after scoring a 3-point goal bringing Lipscomb ahead in the last minutes of the second half of a semifinal college basketball game in the National Invitational Tournament against Wichita State , Tuesday, April 2, 2019, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lipscomb won 71-64. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

BEVO BEAT Men's Basketball

NIT championship preview: Texas vs. Lipscomb

Posted April 3rd, 2019

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NIT championship preview: Texas vs. Lipscomb

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Madison Square Garden (capacity 18,746)

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TV/radio: ESPN/104.9 The Horn

Line: Texas by 1 1/2

About the series: Texas has a 2-0 all-time series lead in games that haven’t been close. The Horns won 106-61 in former coach Rick Barnes’ final season. UT also won 80-57 last season under current coach Shaka Smart.

No. 2 seed TEXAS (20-16, 8-10 Big 12)
No.Pos.PlayerClassHt.PPGRPG
2GMatt Coleman IIISoph.6-29.83.3*
3GCourtney RameyFr.6-38.23.3*
13GJase FebresSoph.6-58.62.9
21FDylan OsetkowskiSr.6-910.97.1
20FJericho SimsSoph.6-94.23.6
Coach: Shaka Smart (70-66, 4th year at Texas; 233-122, 10th year overall)
*-indicates assists per game.

About the Longhorns: Ramey said the Horns’ main focus in New York is sending seniors Kerwin Roach II and Osetkowski out as winners. Roach, a key cog in Smart’s four-season tenure, is grateful. “When opportunities are given to you, you just have to seize it,” Roach said. He currently ranks 17th in UT scoring history with 1,395 career points and can move past Chris Mihm against Lipscomb. “Whenever you’ve got something in front of your face, you’ve got to go all out,” he said. In four NIT wins, the Horns have held opponents in check from 3-point range. Opposing teams have shot 27.2% beyond the extended arc. In UT’s 16 losses this season, opponents shot 42.6% from downtown. Texas is now 10-3 in five all-time appearances in the NIT.

No. 5 seed LIPSCOMB (29-7, 14-2 Atlantic Sun)
No.Pos.PlayerClassHt.PPGRPG
21GKenny CooperJr.6-010.04.5*
3GMichael BucklandJr.6-45.72.7
24GGarrison MatthewsSr.6-521.15.4
12FMatt RoseSr.6-76.02.2
2CAhsan AsadullahFr.6-97.34.7
Coach: Casey Alexander (113-83, 6th year at Lipscomb; 137-119, 8th year overall)
*-indicates assists per game.

About the Bisons: There was a sea of purple-clad Bisons fans at the Garden for the semifinals. “We had like a sea of purple come in all at once and I was pretty shocked about it, seeing all those people come,” Matthews said. Lipscomb captured a 71-64 win over Wichita State in what was a seesaw affair. “I won’t say we got great shots but we didn’t have turnovers,” coach Casey Alexander said afterward. The Bisons are strong shooters all over the floor — 54.1% from 2-point range, 37.7% from 3-point land and 75.7 percent at the stripe. It’s a team that typically makes anywhere from 8-11 3-point shots per game. Texas’ perimeter defense has been its Achilles heel all season.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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