The Texas team that showed up on Friday evening to face the Northwestern State Demons in no way resembled the team we saw last year. While it was the season opener and there is still a lot of basketball left to play, this team showed flashes of the Shaka Smart teams he courted back at Virginia Commonwealth.
The anticipation surrounding this Longhorns basketball team followed Mo Bamba, a freshman with a 7’9” wingspan, who contributed on both sides of the court. Bamba finished the game with 15 points on 6-9 shooting, and recorded 8 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Jase Febres came off the bench hot, scoring 13 points and tallying 3 rebounds and 3 assists. 7 players on the Texas roster finished with over 10 points.
The “Havoc” defense should get plenty of credit for how they handled the man-to-man press that Smart’s defenses are known for. That, and the 11 steals, 8 blocks, and 19 forced turnovers, proved that this Longhorns squad can not only play defensively, but can be elite defensively.
It should be noted that the Demons were far overmatched against the Longhorns, who shot 49.3 percent from the field thanks to 23 assists on 37 field goals. The ball movement was superb thanks to pieces that well and truly benefit each other.
This was a relatively complete game for the Longhorns, who scored 105 points in the game. Each of the starters (Osetkowski, Bamba, Jones, Roach II and Coleman) finished with double digits in scoring. They shot 10-33 from the 3-point line, allowed 59 points and gave the Demons offense plenty of trouble in the process.
It wasn’t a perfect game for the Longhorns, as the team ended up shooting just 63.6% from the free-throw line. By tidying up free throws and becoming more efficient with three point shooting, this Texas team can dream big this season.
It’s only one game into the season, but if this Texas team can keep up what they achieved tonight, they can be set up to win later this season and potentially in the post-season. The team as a whole is extremely athletic and the players compliment one another which results in what looks like easy basketball. This was the opposite of what we witnessed last year.
The Longhorns will host New Hampshire on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7 P.M. C.T.