When this week’s two college basketball polls were released, the voters had a tough time distinguishing between the No. 10 and No. 11 ranked teams. The AP voters had the Longhorns 10th and the Aggies right behind them at 11th. The Coaches had it switched around.
But as the “overrated” chant echoes throughout the Frank Erwin Center, it appears that the media had it right as the Longhorns beat the Aggies 81-60 Wednesday night.
“They whipped us,” Aggie head coach Mark Turgeon said. “We are shocked.”
Entering the game with only one loss on the season, Turgeon noticed his team looked a little nervous prior to the game.
The Longhorns, on the other hand, came out of the gate loose as they continuously attacked the basket getting off to a 20-5 lead.
“They just out-toughed us,” A&M forward Nathan Walkup said. “We just came out soft. You can’t play soft in the Big 12, especially against a top 15 team.”
Jordan Hamilton’s 27 points and Tristan Thompson’s 18 propelled Texas to a blowout win in which they never trailed.
Thompson started strong in the first half, making play after play inside the paint. As the Longhorns kept attacking the basket, the Aggies got into foul trouble as they were in the bonus only six minutes into the game.
“We were not supposed to be leaving him,” Turgeon said.
Thompson converting on offense eventually led to Hamilton catching fire.
“He draws double teams, sometimes he draws triple teams. That’s good for me because then I will be able to knock down open shots. I appreciate him for that,” Hamilton said while smiling and patting Thompson on the shoulder.
Hamilton had only made one shot in the first 18 minutes but finished off the half with two baskets and never looked back, hitting seven of nine field goals in the second half.
“I thought it felt like they scored every time they had the ball, and that is not what we are about,” Turgeon said. “They played in a comfort zone all night because we didn’t put any pressure on them. They were fantastic.”
The lack of pressure allowed Hamilton to continuously come off screens and hit both fade away and spot up jumpers.
“He’s a shot maker, there’s no doubt about it,” said Texas head coach Rick Barnes. “The only time he gets in trouble is when he is too anxious, and in the first half, he was too anxious. But he settled down.”
Texas shot 58 percent from the field, but the most impressive statistic from Wednesday may have been from the free-throw line where the Longhorns converted on 19 of 22 attempts led by Alexis Wangmene who converted all six of his attempts.
Gary Johnson added 14 points for the Longhorns who take on another top 10 opponent on Saturday in Kansas — depending on which poll you look at.