Texas falls to Kent State in final tuneup before conference play

Shane Lewis

Texas learned just how hard it is to overcome the combination of poor shooting and turnovers Tuesday night against Kent State. In the Longhorn’s final tune-up before conference play, the team put forth one of their worst offensive performances of the season, falling to the Golden Flashes 63-58.

The Longhorns gave the ball away a season-high 18 times and looked out of sorts on the offensive end.

The team also failed to carry the momentum from their hot-shooting performance against the University of Alabama-Birmingham last Wednesday. After shooting 54 percent against the Blazers, the Longhorns shot only 36 percent against the Flashes and drained only two of 18 attempts from three-point range. This marks the fifth time this year the Burnt Orange have been plagued by sub-forty percent shooting.

Despite the team’s struggles, the Longhorns looked to be in control with just under fifteen minutes remaining in the game. Texas led 37-31, and the Flashes hadn’t shown the ability to capitalize on the Longhorn’s turnovers and poor shooting.

But Kent State used a barrage of three-pointers to grab a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. After failing to drain a three in the first half, the Flashes hit three shots from deep in a span of less than three minutes. The threes powered a 15-2 Kent State run that put the squad up 46-39 with 9:17 left in the contest.

Texas fought back, scrapping their way back into a one-score affair with less than two minutes remaining. The game remained tight down the stretch, and thanks to some Kent State missed free throws, the Longhorns had a chance to tie up the game and potentially force overtime.

But sophomore guard Eric Davis’ jumper was blocked with six seconds left, and Kent State’s proceeding run-out jam put an exclamation point on the Flash’s upset victory.

The play of freshman forward Jarett Allen was one of the few bright spots for the Longhorns. Allen carried the team offensively, finishing with a team high of 17 points. The freshman also pulled down 10 rebounds and finished with his fourth double-double this season.

The Longhorns played a suffocating brand of defense, forcing 21 Kent State turnovers and limiting the Flashes to only 38 percent shooting from the field.

The Longhorns were decimated on the boards, however, and were unable to take advantage of the opposition’s meager shooting. The Flashes outrebounded Texas by a 53-34 margin and were relentless on the offensive glass, pulling down 22 offensive rebounds. Kent State’s success on the offensive boards led to 11 more shot attempts than the Burnt Orange.

Texas will look to correct their issues in a hurry as conference play enters full swing. The team kicks off their Big 12 slate with a road contest at Kansas State this Friday at 7 p.m.