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No. 7 Texas clashes with No. 23 Seton Hall in Big 12/Big East Challenge

Seton Hall forward Alexis Yetna secures a rebound against Wagner forward Nigel Jackson and forward Ja'Mier Fletcher. At 6-8, Yetna makes up an imposing Pirates post game along with 7-2 center Ike Obiagu.

Thursday’s game

No. 7 Texas vs. No. 23 Seton Hall (Big 12/Big East Battle)

5:30 p.m., Newark, N.J., Prudential Center (cap. 18,711)

TV/radio: FS1 / 104.9 The Horn

About the series: Texas leads 2-1. The teams have not played since Texas won 70-62 in East Rutherford, N.J., on Dec. 4, 2005. The Horns shot 39.3%, but the Pirates shot 36.8% and went 3-for-23 from 3-point range. It’s also remembered for Mike Williams’ season debut after the freshman was held back by the NCAA over eligibility questions.

About the Longhorns: Beard’s club may have experience; seven players were 22 years old when this season began. But Seton Hall has the height advantage. Allen and Mitchell will likely be guarding big men ranging from 6-foot-8 up to 7-2. Blocking out and holding position is always critical in size mismatches. Seton Hall averages 5.6 blocks per game. The Horns have shown terrific ball movement at times, especially Mitchell. He had four assists in the first four-plus minutes against UTRGV. Allen also averages 2.7 assists per game. After Saturday, the Horns have four more games left before Big 12 play starts, three at home. Texas’ next home game is Tuesday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

About the Pirates: A special season might be brewing for Willard’s bunch. Seton Hall is off to its best start since the 2017-18 season when the Pirates started 9-1. Two seasons later, the Pirates found midseason momentum and went 13-5 to win the Big East. Last season, Seton Hall finished just above .500. An upset road win over No. 4 Michigan followed by a three-point loss against Ohio State have been this year’s notable games. It’s a veteran team built somewhat like Texas. Four of the top six scorers returned, and Seton Hall added three transfers with 1,400 combined career points plus a top-25 recruiting class. Rhoden was a preseason All-Big East first-team pick and one of 20 guards named to the Jerry West Award watch list. Opponents are hitting just 27.1% of their 3-point shots against these guards.

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.