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Texas races past Lipscomb to win NIT championship, 81-66 - Apr 4, 2019


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Dylan
Osetkowski
While the 2018-19 season for Texas and Shaka Smart didn't live up to expectations, Smart's fourth campaign on the Forty Acres ends with the Longhorns making the most of their berth in the National Invitation Tournament by claiming the program's first postseason championship in 41 years. Te\as defeated Lipscomb in the championship game of the 2019 NIT at New York City's Madison Square Garden Thursday night, 81-66. The win marks the first NIT title for the Longhorns since 1978. Texas (21-16) finishes the season on a five-game winning streak - the longest of the season since the Longhorns came out of the gate to the tune of a 5-0 start - and ends the season with the highest victory total by a burnt orange-clad squad in five years (the 2013-14 group went 24-11 under Rick Barnes). Facing one of the nation's highest-scoring teams in regular-season Atlantic Sun champion Lipscomb (29-8), the Longhorns used a strong first-half finish to create all of the separation they needed in order to claim victory. After the Bison's took a 22-19 lead with 6:42 to go until halftime, Texas went on a 22-5 scoring run en route to a 14-point halftime lead, 41-27. The Longhorns held the Bisons to a 1-for-10 shooting effort from the floor during their run. Lipscomb cut the Texas lead down to seven, but the Longhorns seemed to have an answer every time the Bisons threatened to get back in the game. All-American guard Garrison Matthews (6'5''-G) (held to 15 points on a 2-for-10 shooting performance) hit a pair of free throws to cut the Texas lead down to nine points, 52-43, with 11:10 remaining regulation. From there, a 3-pointer by Kerwin Roach II (6'4''-G-96) II (6'4''-G-96) got the lead back to 12 points and the Longhorns never relinquished control of the game. Whatever chances remained for Lipscomb to make a comeback were crushed as the second half wore on. Texas knocked down six of eight field goals during one stretch, including a Jase Febres (6'5''-G-99) 3-pointer to cap a 10-0 run and a 360 breakaway dunk by Roach to put the Longhorns up by 20, 79-59, with 2:33 to play in the game. The Longhorns played an elite brand of defense over their last three games of the NIT, including holding TCU to 44 points (the fewest allowed in the team's 37-game season_ in the tournament semifinals Tuesday (a 58-44 win). Texas held Lipscomb to its third-worst shooting performance of the season as the Bisons hit their shots at a 39.3-percent clip (48.3-percent shooting team on the season), only the third time in 37 games they've been held to under 40 percent shooting. The 66 points scored by Lipscomb was well below its season average of 83.6 points per game. Texas recorded nine steals and turned 14 turnovers by the Bisons into 16 points. The Longhorns benefitted from tremendous performances by Roach and Dylan Osetkowski (6'9''-F-96) (6'9''-F-96) in their final games for the program. Osetkowski scored a game-high 19 points (a 5-for-10 shooting effort and a 3-for-6 night from 3-point range), grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out five assists and recorded three steals while Roach dropped in 16 points (a 6-for-12 shooting night) off of the bench to go along with nine assists, five rebounds and two steals. Febres (17 points, four 3-pointers and five rebounds) and Matt Coleman III (6'2''-G-98) (11 points, seven assists, four steals and three rebounds) also scored in double figures for the Longhorns.

Courtesy of: 247sports.com

NIT All-Tournament Team
1. Kerwin Roach II Texas (MOP)
3. Garrison Mathews (6'5''-G) Lipscomb
4. Rob Marberry (6'7''-F-96) Lipscomb
5. Markis McDuffie (6'8''-F-97) Wichita St.
  



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