No. 8 Texas wipes San Jose State with solid first-half defense

Christina Huang, Sports Reporter

Last Saturday, No. 8 Texas struggled defensively against No. 1 Gonzaga. The Longhorns allowed Bulldogs big man Drew Timme  a career-high 37 points, but this Saturday was a different defensive story. Texas held San Jose State to just 45 points in a 79-45 victory at the Frank Erwin Center.

In the first half, the Longhorns allowed the Spartans  just 17 points. Texas forced 19 turnovers in the first half while giving up just five of its own.

“I haven’t seen turnovers like that in a long, long time,” said Tim Miles, San Jose State’s head coach.

Even though the Spartans are not exactly on the same level as top-ranked Gonzaga, Texas showcased marked improvement defensively since last Saturday. The Longhorns were more aggressive, nabbing 10 steals in the first half. Texas also held the Spartans to multiple scoring droughts that lasted for at least two minutes each.

On offense, senior forward Timmy Allen rolled as one of Texas’ top scorers. Allen ended the night with 17 points, while junior forward Tre Mitchell followed closely with 14 points. Senior guard Andrew Jones and junior forward Brock Cunningham were the other two Longhorns who scored in double digits. Cunningham’s 10 points marked the first time the forward has scored in double figures in his career.

Senior guard Andrew Jones battles a San Jose State defender in Texas’ 79-45 win over the Spartans on Saturday night at the Frank Erwin Center. Madison Morris/The Daily Texan

Even though the Longhorns switched things up defensively and the team kept its offensive stride, there is still plenty of room for growth according to Texas head coach Chris Beard.

The Spartans never held the lead, but in the second half, the Longhorns did not come out with the same level of aggressiveness and intensity as they did in the first. Texas only forced eight turnovers and had six steals in the second half. The Longhorns scored 32 points in the second half, compared to 47 in the first. They were also sloppier offensively, turning the ball over seven times in the second half compared to the five in the first.

“We can’t come out in the second half and be flat just because we (have) the lead,” Allen said. “That’s not acceptable.”

Allen also mentioned that he thought the team only played about 21 minutes of good basketball in the victory.

“I don’t want to speak for Timmy, but I think he was thinking 20 (good minutes) in the first half,” Beard said. “There might have been one good minute somewhere in the second half.”

The Longhorns will return to the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday for a matchup against California Baptist to close out the Abe Lemons Classic.