Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022
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Texas men’s basketball takes St. Edward’s in preseason exhibition match

Max+Abmas+dribbles+the+ball+against+a+St.+Edward%E2%80%99s+defender+during+the+University%E2%80%99s+exhibition+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+game+on+Oct.+30%2C+2023
Kevin Kim
Max Abmas dribbles the ball against a St. Edward’s defender during the University’s exhibition men’s basketball game on Oct. 30, 2023

Texas men’s basketball was awakened after a redeeming 84-63 win over St. Edward’s in a monumental crosstown showdown. This matchup was also meaningful for Texas head coach Rodney Terry, whose alma mater is St. Edward’s, where he started three seasons for the Hilltoppers.

“It was a really good game for our community in terms of two institutions going at it,” Terry said after the game. “St. Edward’s, a lot of respect for those guys.” 

With the season opener against Incarnate Word one week away, there are some major takeaways to be had from the exhibition match against the Division II school.


 

Difficulty against a pressuring defense 

St. Edward’s came ready for Texas with a high-pressure defense, which made it difficult for Texas to score early on. The Longhorns were unable to find a viable shot and came close to or ran out the shot clock on multiple occurrences. Not only that, but St. Edward’s defensive efforts made Texas uneasy and resulted in numerous sloppy passes and turnovers. By the end of the second half, Texas was able to calm down and find pockets in the defense, and they were able to take a heavier lead. Texas finished out with a 30.4% in three-pointers in comparison to the Hilltoppers’ 41.2%.

“We knew they were a really good shooting team, and they were going to really challenge us defensively to sit down, stay in stances and really try to go,” Terry said. “And you know, we found out a lot about ourselves. We don’t get games like this early in the year right now.”

 

The Tyrese Hunter and Max Abmas duo 

Junior guard Tyrese Hunter and graduate transfer guard Max Abmas showed up offensively,  the sole reason Texas was able to come back and win the match. The chemistry between Hunter and Abmas on the court was electric, and they are a pair that will excel together this season. Abmas, the top scorer from Oral Roberts last season, continues his scoring legacy by finishing the game with 18 points, with Hunter leading the team with 22 points.

“Max and I are just out there gelling with each other,” Hunter said. “First one really in the books for each other, but I feel real good out there with him. We just keep learning each other’s game.”

 

The usefulness of Brock Cunningham

With normal starter Dylan Disu still out for injury, forward graduate student Brock Cunningham saw more playing time than usual and did not disappoint. Cunningham, well known for being the heart of the Texas team, pitched in for Texas with seven points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. He was a strong force on defense as well, and continuing to play at this level will be one of the key factors for Texas’ success. 

 

Weak defense coverage

Texas played a somewhat slow man-to-man defense that left St. Edward’s with numerous scoring opportunities, which made it a close game. Throughout the game, the Hilltoppers were given multiple wide-open shots and layups that resulted from Texas defenders’ inability to stay on top of their men.

 

Ze’Rik Onyema lethal off the bench 

With a handful of new additions joining Texas this season, one that stood out in the match was junior forward Ze’Rik Onyema. The transfer from UT-El Paso was able to come off the bench and show off his skills by the rim. Onyema scored eight points the whole game, with four coming from two dunks in the first half. His strength and size in the paint will bode well for Texas this season, and his dunks will continue to be a crowd-pleaser.

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