Fo the third time in as many games this season, the Texas Longhorns ran away with an easy victory with the latest coming over the Lipscomb Bisons, 80-57.
Although the final score indicates a blowout, Texas had its hands full early on. After jumping out to a quick 6-0 lead, the Bisons battled back, making a run of their own bolstered by arguably the play of Eli Peppers’ career, as he attacked the rim and finished with a thunderous dunk over Mohamed Bamba.
Here's Pepper posterizing Bamba. You won't see that very often this year pic.twitter.com/EfG9M7wXb5— Ezra Siegel (@SiegelEzra) November 18, 2017
Lipscomb’s spurt was capped by taking a 12-11 lead with 11:21 remaining in the half, which marked the first time Texas has trailed all season, but the deficit was short-lived.
While Pepper’s highlight jam was surely one for the highlight reel, it awoke Bamba and a Texas squad that was seemingly sleepwalking throughout the early portion of the game. Bamba responded with four quick rejections and altered several more shots. The offense continued to struggle, though, missing its first seven attempts from the perimeter en route to a narrow 19-16 Texas leads coming out of the under-eight media timeout.
Thanks in large part to superior athletes, the ‘Horns then proceeded to rip off a 17-6 run to close the half and enter intermission with a 36-22 edge, courtesy a smothering defensive effort in which Texas forced Limpscomb into a 10-plus-minute drought without a made field goal.
Kerwin Roach II entered the break leading all scorers with 13 points, but Texas as a unit struggled offensively, connecting on just 1-10 attempts from the perimeter and recording only two assists to go along with five turnovers.
The second half proved to be a bit of a more positive story.
Picking up where it left off, Texas jumped out of the gates, quickly transforming what was just a three-point lead with 7:24 remaining in the first half to a 20-point cushion by the 16:13 mark, 48-28.
Texas was in cruise control from that point forward, and even extended the lead to 30 at one point courtesy of a balanced offensive effort that saw 12 Longhorns find the scoreboard, including a routine highlight jam from Jericho Sims.
Oh my-lanta. Jericho Sims brings the house down off a lob from Dylan Osetkowski. pic.twitter.com/BSqTb8kJW8— Ezra Siegel (@SiegelEzra) November 18, 2017
By the time the final buzzer sounded, Roach remained as the game’s leading scorer with 16 points. Bamba notched his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to go along with his five blocks as part of a performance that revelaved the versatility that have NBA franchises enamored with his upside.
Mo Bamba will be a problem for Big 12 defenses if he makes this consistently. pic.twitter.com/XIblMi3iTY— Ezra Siegel (@SiegelEzra) November 18, 2017
Matt Coleman joined Roach and Bamba in double figures with 10 points of his own, although he recorded just one assist.
As a team, Texas finished with only six assists and doubled that effort with 12 total turnovers. Shooting proved to be an issue yet again, as well, with the ‘Horns connecting on just 3-16 three-point attempts and 19-33 looks from the charity stripe. The inability to hit shots hasn’t hindered Texas yet just, but as the competition level continues to rise, failing to find success from the perimeter and the free throw line will surely prove to be the difference in wins and losses.
Texas was also out rebounded 38-35, which appeared to be a matter of effort at times, although the game was well in hand throughout the majority of the second half.
The Longhorns defense, however, was a tremendous bright spot and affirmation of Shaka Smart’s preseason sentiments that Texas can be elite on that end of the court.
Texas held Lipscomb to just 29.3 percent from the field (17-58) and 8.7 percent from the perimeter (2-23). The Bisons were extremely efficient from the free throw line, though, converting on 21-26 opportunities.
Garrison Matthews led the way for Lipscomb with 17 points on 4-11 shooting, while Rob Marberry added 10 points of his own. No other Lipscomb player finished with more than seven points.
Texas will be back in action on Thanksgiving Day, putting its perfect 3-0 record on the line to open the PK80 tournament against Butler. The ‘Horns and Bulldogs are scheduled to tip off at 6:00 p.m. CT on ESPN.