The No. 8 Texas Longhorns used a dominant first half to blow out the San Jose State Spartans, 79-45, at the Erwin Center on Saturday night in the second game of the Abe Lemons Classic.
Head coach Chris Beard’s team shot 64.3 percent in the first half and forced 19 turnovers resulting in 25 points as the Longhorns raced out to a 47-17 lead at halftime. The final turnover tally for the Spartans was 27 as the Longhorns rang up a 36-12 margin in points in the paint.
Senior forward Timmy Allen led four Texas players in double figures with a game-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting while junior forward Tre Mitchell and senior guard Andrew Jones both turned in efficient performances. Jones didn’t start as senior guard Jase Febres got the nod, but bounced back from a difficult game against Northern Colorado by scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting and three of the 16 steals by Texas. Mitchell, starting for the second consecutive game, was 6-of-8 shooting for 14 points and added eight steals of his own.
The struggles continued for senior guard Marcus Carr, however — the Minnesota transfer scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting with four fouls and four turnovers.
Texas got off to a strong start with effective on-ball pressure and good anticipation in the passing lanes defensively, forcing four turnovers before the under-16 timeout to take a 9-2 lead.
A 12-0 run during a long stretch of play — the under-12 timeout didn’t happen until 9:10 remaining in the first half — included more turnovers created by the Longhorns. By the second media timeout, Texas had forced 11 turnovers thanks to seven steals, scoring 14 points from those San Jose State miscues to take a 28-13 lead on 10-of-16 shooting.
The Horns finished the first half on a 19-3 run over the final 8:55 before once again struggling to open the second half, missing six straight shots and turning the ball over twice, forcing an irate Beard to call a timeout with 16:35 remaining.
The second half was so sloppy it featured senior guard Avery Benson committing an intentional foul while playing center and junior guard Brock Cunningham getting fouled while shooting a three.
Texas finished the half shooting 39.3 percent with seven turnovers and 11 made baskets, out-scoring San Jose State by a mere three points.
So Beard’s team is still trying to play a complete game with the Abe Lemons Classic finale looming against a pickup team chosen from a random Austin neighborhood park. Or Cal Baptist. Same difference.