Texas Longhorns guard Matt Coleman III (2) fights for the loose ball on the floor with McNeese State Cowboys in the first half of a NCAA basketball game at the Frank Erwin Center, Saturday November 30, 2019. [RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

BEVO BEAT Men's Basketball

Men’s preview: Texas vs. Alabama-Birmingham

Longhorns will host a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Moody Center at 5 p.m. Tuesday

Posted December 2nd, 2019

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Texas vs. Alabama-Birmingham

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Erwin Center (capacity 16,540)

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TV/radio: Longhorn Network/104.9 The Horn

About the series: Texas leads the all-time series 1-0. The Longhorns won the only previous matchup 96-60 when the two teams met on Dec. 21, 2016.

TEXAS (6-1)
No.Pos.PlayerClassHt.PPGRPG
2GMatt Coleman IIIJr.6-214.75.0*
3GCourtney RameySoph.6-39.44.6
13GJase FebresJr.6-58.92.4
0FGerald LiddellSoph.6-86.54.7
20FJericho SimsJr.6-99.07.4
Coach: Shaka Smart (77-67, 5th year at Texas; 240-123, 11th year overall)
*-indicates assists per game.

About the Longhorns: In November, coach Shaka Smart’s club got off to the best start in his five seasons. Smart said the Horns “showed glimpses of who we can be as a team and who each of them can be as individual players.” Now, Texas must do it consistently for 40 minutes. Coleman (career-high 51.5 FG%) is proving himself to be Texas’ clear floor leader. Others have bouts with inconsistency. Before the game, Texas officials will hold a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Moody Center at 5 p.m. Admission is free in the parking lot just south of Mike Myers Stadium. “I think it’s such an unbelievable game-changer for Texas basketball, both men’s and women’s,” Smart said. The new arena is scheduled to open for the 2022-23 season.

ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM (6-1)
No.Pos.PlayerClassHt.PPGRPG
13GJalen BenjaminFr.5-1013.53.2
0GTyreek Scott-GraysonJr.6-59.22.2*
3GTavin LovanSoph.6-411.34.8
5FMakhtar GueyeJr.6-106.26.2
2FTamell PearsonSoph.6-104.74.2
Coach: Rob Ehsan (61-46, 4th year at UAB)
*-indicates assists per game.

About the Blazers: UAB hit eight of 16 3-pointers last Friday but had trouble with Kentucky’s length and ultimately lost 69-58 at Rupp Arena. “I thought protecting the rim is one of the team’s strengths,” coach Rob Ehsan said afterward. “We told our guys, mentally calm down when you get in there and try to finish, but it’s hard when you have those guys coming at you.” Texas will likely try to fluster UAB’s shooters again with length from Sims and 6-foot-11 freshman Kai Jones. Benjamin had a good night against Kentucky. The freshman tied his career high with 19 points and went 4-for-5 from 3-point range. He’s finished in double figures in every game but one this season.

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

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