The No. 2 Texas Longhorns destroyed Texas-Pan American, 104-42, in a game that was exactly as close as the score indicates. The ‘Horns improved to 9-0 and look to be rolling as the competition increases with North Carolina and Michigan State on the schedule over the next seven days.
This one was over before it started. The Longhorns increased an early 21-11 lead to 33-11 as they held the Broncos scoreless for over six minutes in the first half. Texas led 45-19 at the break and by more than 60 for the latter part of the game.
I don't want anyone to get too excited about this one. Texas-Pan Am was grossly outmatched, way undersized (346th in effective height, Ken Pom), and would have trouble beating decent high school teams. The Broncs should be the worst team that the ‘Horns face all season, save maybe Gardner Webb. That said, there were some high points worth mentioning.
For a game that was out of hand early, the Longhorns were intense throughout. The full-court pressure and half court traps frustrated the smaller and slower Broncs all game. The ‘Horns forced 21 turnovers and could have easily forced more.
The blowout and the absences of J'Covan Brown (injury), Shawn Williams (injury), and Jai Lucas (stupid NCAA rule) forced Rick Barnes to play with different lineups. For the most part, Texas went big. Lineups included frontcourts of Damion James, Clint Chapman, and Matt Hill or James, Hill, and Dexter Pittman. At one point in the second half, I think James was at the two guard and Gary Johnson at the small forward spot. The bigger lineups met the challenges of guarding smaller perimeter players well. Texas held Texas Pan-Am to just 24% from the floor and 14% from behind the arc.
In addition to the experimental bigger lineups, Avery Bradley got some work at the point for the first time all season. Not surprisingly, he excelled with the ball in his hands as much as he does as the off guard. Bradley led the team with 18 points (8-of-15) and distributed five assists.
A few other brief points after the jump, before chalking up this for the mismatch that it was:
- Dogus Balbay is playing like Steve Nash without a reliable jumper. He is turning the corner at will and distributing the basketball like a magician. If you can't score with Dogus on the floor with you, then you just aren't any good. His line -- 8 points, nine assists, and five rebounds against just a single turnover in 22 minutes. Masterful. Oh yeah, and he sank a three-pointer. I swear. I saw it.
- Jordan Hamilton is really good off his own miss.
- The big to big passing tonight was as good as it gets. I thought Matt Hill, Clint Chapman, Alexis Wangmene, and Damion James were excellent looking for each other from the high post to the low block.
- Other than Bradley, four other ‘Horns scored in double figures -- Hamilton (15 pts), Dexter Pittman (14 pts in just 12 min), Gary Johnson (12 pts), and Justin Mason (10 pts). Damion James scored another eight points to go with nine rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.
- Texas more than doubled Texas-Pan Am, 64-31, on the glass.
- Walk-ons Dean Melchionni and Andrew Dick played seven minutes a piece and were interviewed by Craig Way after the game. Dick even scored two buckets for five points.
- Is it just me or the wind always blowing 25 mph outside the Drum?
Like I said at the top, Texas-Pan American is really bad and not worth talking about anymore.
NEXT GAME: vs. North Carolina (8-2) in Arlington Saturday 12/19 1 PM ESPN