5 takeaways from No. 12 Texas’ big win over Houston Christian

Matthew Caldwell, Sports Desk Editor

No. 12 Texas men’s basketball took down Houston Christian 82-31 on Thursday night. The win put the Longhorns at 2–0 on the season. Here are five takeaways from the game:

Tyrese Hunter has picked back up where he left off

Sophomore transfer Tyrese Hunter won Big 12 Freshman of the Year last season with Iowa State and helped lead his team to the Sweet 16.

After scoring 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting against UTEP in the season opener, Hunter followed that performance up with 10 points on Thursday. He also tied for the most assists at three. The 6-foot guard leads the team in scoring through its first two games with 14 points per game.

Texas has much improved rebounding, particularly on the offensive end

The Longhorns were outrebounded in their win over the Miners on Monday night, but Texas didn’t let that happen tonight. Freshman forward Dillon Mitchell led the team with 12 rebounds, senior Timmy Allen finished with 10 and Hunter contributed 7 of his own.

“We want to be one of the top teams in the country crashing the board,” Mitchell said. “That was a big emphasis on what we wanted to do.”

In the first half, the Longhorns held the rebounding advantage by a 29-12 margin, due in large part to their ability to crash the offensive glass. Mitchell had nine offensive rebounds by the end of the first half, acquiring three in the span of 30 seconds at one point.

The team eventually out-rebounded the Huskies 56-33.

Poor shooting from the 3-point and free-throw lines

Despite winning by 51, Texas struggled from the charity stripe and from deep. The Longhorns finished with just a 13.6% shooting percentage from the 3-point line.

“Three point shot and free throws, we’ll have to fire those coaches tomorrow,” head coach Chris Beard said jokingly.

Although Texas did get to the line often, the Longhorns were unable to make the most of their trips, going 9-for-19 from the stripe.

Defense continues to be a big focus of Beard’s

When Beard came to Austin, he talked about the importance of playing hard on the defensive end. The team seemingly has taken that message, and it paid dividends on Thursday.

“Defense is the standard,” Beard said. “It’s the thing that never goes away.”

Houston Christian’s first basket came with 13:17 remaining in the first half after Texas had already garnered a significant lead. The Huskies ended the game with 21 turnovers which the Longhorns converted into 32 points.

The team played defense at a high level while committing very few fouls; the first against Texas came with 12:06 to go in the first half.

Texas got minutes for the deeper bench players

As the lead grew for the Longhorns, Beard subbed in a couple of unfamiliar faces in redshirt freshmen Gavin Perryman and Cole Bott and freshman Alex Anamekwe. The trio combined for 29 minutes, including some meaningful ones in the first half.

Anamekwe did a little of everything, finishing with two points, two rebounds and a steal. Perryman and Bott both sank 3-pointers late in the second half, combining for two of Texas’ three made deep shots.

The Longhorns’ next game is against Gonzaga on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Moody Center. It will be the team’s biggest game thus far of the season, and Beard said he knows what the team needs to do to come out with a win and improve to 3–0.

“Gonzaga is really, really good and we’ll have to play really well to beat them this time of year,” Beard said.