09 Dec

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‘Horns confidence not lost amid losing streak

The Texas Men's Basketball team is confident the wins are about to stat rolling again, starting with today's home game against Purdue (Photo courtesy of Texas Sports).

AUSTIN, Texas — As soon as the Texas Men’s Basketball team rolls into a smooth rhythm, the losing blues will disappear.

Through a three-game losing streak heading into today’s home game against Purdue, the Longhorns feel they’ve found what will make them successful this season, now it’s just a matter of locking into that pace and playing freely from here on out, according to point guard Elijah Mitrou-Long.

Elijah Mitrou-Long

“We know what we’re doing on our end, things are going to fall into place, we just gotta stay at it and have a positive mindset — which is the hardest part,” he said. “We need to be more aggressive, and not worry about if the ball is not going in … Play, just play, that’s what we did against North Carolina, we were just playing, just hooping. I feel like thats one thing I learned, if we just go out there and play our game everything will take care of itself.”

While the ‘Horns defense has mostly been stout in the early going this season, Texas’ pace of play has seemingly changed with every game.

That’s not lost on the players themselves, who are trying to get everyone on the same page throughout every game.

“I do notice that also, it frustrates me when we preach something in practice and we don’t do it in games,” sophomore guard Jase Febres said. “It starts with us, playing fast, I think we play better when we’re playing fast, getting up and down the court. I think when we stop and we’re calling for ball screens, we’re not moving the ball as fast as we should, we start to become really stagnant.
“Us as a team, us as players need to come together and discuss that.”

That’s where this team is a stark contrast to the squad from a season ago, Febres said, as the team this year communicates with each other and works through issues together. The team has a group thread in which they message each other constantly, with sophomore guard Matt Coleman and Mitrou-Long leading the way in keep everyone intertwined and looking forward.

“We’re gonna have losses, we’re gonna go through dry spells, it’s about how you bounce back,” Febres said. “I think last year there was a lot of attitudes, different emotions on the team, we weren’t able to talk to each other that way. But this year we have a lot of guys who are open-minded and able to take in criticism and to be humiliated for the better of the team, including myself.”

Is Texas the team started 5-0, or the one which has gone 0-3 since then? In the early going, it’s both, but come January and beyond, Texas believes this will all even out into a strong squad.
Mitrou-Long credited head coach Shaka Smart for staying even keel during the wins and the losses this year.

“(Smart) tries to remind us that we’re a good team and don’t ever second guess ourselves,” Mitrou-Long said. “I think we do that a lot, not even us but everybody that plays basketball at our age at our level. When you lose three in a row you’re gonna kind of second guess who you are as a person, as a man, and he always reminds us don’t second guess yourself.”

The Longhorns host Purdue at 5 p.m. at the Erwin Center, following the Texas Women’s Basketball team facing Tennessee at Noon.

Bevo Blvd. will be open and rocking for fans to come out and enjoy both games along with some fanfare on the Forty Acres.