Texas wins again with help from Kabongo

Sameer Bhuchar

Myck Kabongo turned in a career-high 18 point performance and the Longhorns overcame a poor first half to topple Temple 77-65 for their seventh straight win.

Down 34-31 at halftime, the Longhorns (9-2) were out of sync and playing uncharacteristic ball. However, their second half served as the prototypical type of performance Texas will rely on throughout the course of the year.

Asked what changes Texas head coach Rick Barnes made to his stagnant offense, he said nothing.

“Well, we ran [the offense]. That’s what we did,” Barnes said with a hint of frustration. “I told them at halftime that [Temple] hasn’t done anything we haven’t game planned for. And we haven’t done anything we practiced.”

Texas played like it prepared to from then on out.

It went on a 12-3 run in the middle of the second half that gave them the lead and the momentum. Kabongo was at the center of keys plays that drove the streak including a coast-to-coast layup and a no-look assist to a wide-open Jaylen Bond that sent the Frank Erwin Center roaring.

“Kabongo really changed the pace of the game,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “He really rammed it down our throats a couple of times.”

But Kabongo wasn’t doing it alone. Rick Barnes’ decision to leave Bond and Clint Chapman in as Texas’ front-court duo for much of the game paid dividends on the glass. The Longhorns cashed in its best rebounding performance of the season against a lengthy Temple team, and the pair had eight and 13 boards respectively. Temple only grabbed 23 rebounds to Texas’ 48.

“Clint Chapman played the best game he has as Texas,” Barnes said.

Texas’ second half defense came alive as well. Temple shot 52 percent in the first, but was held to just 37.5 percent in the second.

Temple’s Khalif Wyatt knocked down 24 points, but that was about the only Owl player to find any rhythm.