Texas rode a wave of early hot shooting from behind the arc to cruise to a 85-52 win over Eastern Washington on Thursday night. The Longhorns sprung out to a commanding 27-15 lead thanks to five three-pointers in the game’s first 12 minutes. The team never looked back after the early outburst.
Senior guard Kendal Yancy ignited the scoring barrage for the Longhorns, hitting consecutive threes in the game’s opening minutes to give Texas a quick 6-2 lead.
Yancy said the quick start set the tone for the team and that the threes were a result of the team’s inside-out game plan.
“It got us going, you know, two threes is big,” Yancy said. “We tried to focus on getting it inside. If [Eastern Washington] came in, we kicked it out. It made us want to get the ball inside and make plays of that.”
Texas would hit six more threes in the second half to finish the game with 11, one more than they made in its first two games combined.
Eastern Washington made a concentrated effort to collapse on Texas’ big men and deny them entry passes. Head coach Shaka Smart said the team responded by attacking from outside.
“When teams are really trying to key in on your bigs and take those passes away, that just means your guards are going to have more opportunities,” Smart said. “Those guys need to be ready to take advantage.”
Sophomore guard Tevin Mack overcame a slow start to finish as Texas’ leading scorer. The guard shot one of five from the field in the first half but caught fire in the second. He scored 15 of his 19 points after halftime. Mack was lethal from three-point range, draining four of his eight shots from deep.
Freshman guard Andrew Jones continued the strong start to his rookie campaign. The guard finished with 17 points and provided an early spark for the Longhorns, scoring 12 points in the first half.
Jones also helped set the tone on defense with his aggressiveness. The freshman excelled on that end while locking down his man on the perimeter. He finished with a game-high three steals.
“I knew they were a bunch of shooters, so I wanted to get at them early — make them handle the ball and see if they could handle it under pressure,” Jones said. “After the first couple of possessions, I realized I could be aggressive, stay low and use my quickness and athleticism to make them make decisions with the ball. They were a little shaky with it.”
As a team, the Longhorns suffocated the Eagles while forcing a season-high 16 turnovers. They limited Eastern Washington to 36 percent shooting from the field.
The Longhorns now prepare for their first road trip of the season. The team will travel to Brooklyn to take on Northwestern in the semifinals of the Legends Classic on Monday at 8:30 p.m.