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

Smothering defense lifts No. 12 Texas in bounce back win over Houston Christian

Lorianne Willett
Guard Max Abmas goes to score during Texas’ game against HCU on Dec. 9, 2023.

While it wasn’t perfect, Texas avenged its loss to Marquette on Saturday, riding a dominant defensive effort to a 77-50 win over Houston Christian. 

The Longhorns were clunky out of the gate, but buckled down to hold the Huskies scoreless for nearly the final 12 minutes of the first half in the most dominant defensive stretch of the young season. 

“I think again you have to continue to just have a mentality that we’re not trying to trade baskets,” Texas head coach Rodney Terry said. “We’re trying to get separation, and a lot of times early in our journey this season we’ve been able to get separation through our defense, and offense from our defense, just sitting down, guarding hard and having a mentality to where it’s personal individually and personal as a team.”

Max Abmas led the way for Texas, finishing with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting and dishing out a season-high seven assists. Despite a concerted effort by Houston Christian to stop him, the graduate transfer continues to assert himself as the clear alpha with Dylan Disu injured, sinking a number of tough dribble pull-ups and generally bailing out the Longhorns on a number of possessions.

“This is the third time I think we’ve played him, because we played when he was at [Oral Roberts], and I don’t think he’s ever gotten his average against us,“ Houston Christian head coach Ron Cottrell said. “We’ve always tried to really do everything we can to run him off the line and I thought we did a pretty good job of it.”

Outside of Abmas, the offense ran hot and cold and continues to look to have room for improvement. The Longhorns were benefactors of 20 points off of 16 Houston Christian turnovers, but struggled to generate consistent points in the half-court.

Texas’ outside shooting continues to slump (28.6%), partially hurt by wing Ithiel Horton’s cold streak. The sharpshooter is 2-of-13 from three-point range in Texas’ last three games and struggled to score elsewhere, finishing 1-of-10 on the day.

Sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell posted a double-double in a solid all-around day. His defense continues to impress, and Houston Christian had few answers when he was able to get a full ahead of steam toward the rim.

“I think he’s really bought into this year understanding that I have to have an elite motor on offense,” Terry said of Mitchell. “On defense, I’ve got to be a big time defender. I’ve got to rebound my position at a high level. I’ll continue to develop and work on my game from an offensive standpoint, but really what translates to giving me an opportunity at the next level and being a really productive player in college is doing those things at a very high level and taking it personal in regards to doing those.”

Graduate transfer Kadin Shedrick bounced back after a rough outing against Marquette, finishing with 15 points and draining his only three-point attempt. He posted one of his most dominant performances as a rim protector in burnt orange thus far, logging three blocks and routinely affecting the Huskies’ shots around the rim.

Shedrick was forced to step up due to the Longhorns’ lackluster perimeter defense, particularly by its guards. Horton and Abmas’ on-ball defense was targeted, with Houston Christian consistently able to funnel its offense into the paint.

“I like to communicate with my guards a lot,” Shedrick said. “They’re still learning kind of how to play with me. So I kind of tell my guards to wall up, handle them down low and then I’ll go up top and try and get it. I’ve been communicating with them on that and then just slowly getting my timing back like how it used to be.”

Second chance opportunities kept Houston Christian in the game, with the Huskies scoring 16 second chance points compared to Texas’ four. Texas ceded 16 offensive rebounds to Houston Christian and will need to polish its work on the boards moving forward.

Sophomore guard Chendall Weaver built on an impressive showing against Houston Christian, posting five points and six rebounds and offering the Longhorns a spark as the first guard off the bench. His energy on drives to the rim is palpable and despite going 1-of-3 from distance he shot in confidently, with the mechanics looking fluid.

While not exactly a start-to-finish massacre the Longhorns were likely looking for, Texas produced a solid win and made a point to fix some of the deficiencies on display versus Marquette.

Texas will have the week off before traveling to Houston to take on LSU at the Toyota Center on Saturday.


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About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.