It took a little while before they really got going, but once they did the Longhorns thoroughly dominated Nicholls St., outscoring the Colonels 56-13 over the game's final 25 minutes en route to a 93-40 blowout win. J`Covan Brown led all scorers with 23 points, while Jaylen Bond took full advantage of extended minutes and a weak opponent to post an impressive 18 points, 12 rebounds double-double. Although Nicholls St. managed to keep things relatively close through most of the first half and only trailed 37-27 with 5:23 to go, by halftime UT had extended its lead to 17, before outscoring the Colonels 40-10 in the second frame. When it was all said and done, Texas finished the game 36-76 from the floor (48%) and held Nicholls State to just 14-51 shooting (28%), racking up 9 blocks and 10 steals along the way.
There isn't too much to take away from this game, given the competition -- the Colonels are easily the worst team on Texas' schedule this year, with a frontcourt even smaller than ours -- but it's been fun to see this team absolutely obliterate consecutive overmatched opponents. Honestly, Nicholls St. is lucky things weren't even uglier than they were. Texas won 93-40 despite JCB, Lewis, and McClellan combining to shoot 3-20 from downtown, with the majority of those 17 misses being quality shots that we just missed.
A few other quick notes after the jump...
* Another really nice game from Myck Kabongo, who's really starting to get comfortable out there. With each game he's steadily become both more patient and more decisive, and he's just killing teams with his all-around floor game. His vision is elite, he's utilizing every type of pass imaginable, and he's doing an increasingly excellent job of controlling tempo, as well as using every dribble purposefully and efficiently. All that's left before achieving high-elite status is fully adjusting to the size and strength of Top 50 teams.
* Great effort tonight from Jaylen Bond, who displayed impressive athleticism and scoring touch around the rim. His upper body strength is obvious, but at least to me, it's his strong hands that make him intriguing for being a 6'6" forward. Bond was incredibly active, getting his hands on 8 offensive rebounds, displaying excellent touch putting it back up on the rim, and showing off that outstanding open court game I drooled about before the season, capping a steal-and-break with a thunderous tomahawk dunk. Good stuff, and he could be a very important bench player for us in our next two games.
* Texas must have taken, what, six charging fouls tonight? Maybe more? Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any way to track charging fouls, but this Texas team is incredibly adept at establishing position and taking the charge. I can't ever recall a Texas team excelling in that regard, but this team really, really does. I wonder if it's these players, or a new point of emphasis by the coaching staff, or both.
* Although knocking down some jumpers will still really help against quality opponents, I'm increasingly impressed with our spacing, motion, cutting, screens, and passing on offense. It's all very fluid and concerted, and consistently opening up points of attack. Add in two guards with elite ball handling ability and you've got one pretty offense to watch. I'm eager to see if we're able to sustain it as the defensive resistance increases.
Next up: The defensive resistance increases immediately, as the outstanding Fran Dunphy brings his experienced, Tourney-tested Owls team to Austin for a Saturday matinee (1:30 pm, ESPN2), before Texas hits the road to Chapel Hill next Wednesday for a road test against a Final Four favorite (6:00 pm, ESPN2).