The Texas Longhorns continued to cruise on Friday night, overcoming a competitive first half en route to a dominant 88-58 win over UT Rio Grande Valley, to improve to 6-1.
Here are a few initial thoughts from Texas latest win.
Texas has to quit letting teams hang around. Courtesy of a late 9-0, UTRGV headed into the half only trailing by five — 46-41. Of course, Texas blew it open immediately after the break, erupting for a 31-5 run to quickly turn that five-point lead into a 31-point cushion, but still, the Horns have let some severely overmatched teams hang around before taking control in the second half. Being able to ultimately build those insurmountable leads is great, but as the competition level increases in the coming weeks, the margin for error gets smaller the longer it takes Texas to take control.
On those offensive eruptions... They’re quiet. You almost don’t even notice how impressive they actually were until you check the score. I’ve said it before, but this team is a little boring, mainly because of the lack of high-flyers we’ve seen so much around Austin in recent years. Without that, those buckets don’t feel quite as impactful, but they absolutely are when you consider how quickly Texas turns a narrow lead into a comfortable and then an insurmountable one. Those game-changing offensive bursts likely won’t be as significant when Big 12 play begins, but considering this group should only get better offensively as they gel, that offensively ability is of note.
Texas should get tested the next time out. The non-conference schedule hasn’t been much to write home about minus Texas’ road loss to Gonzaga, and the underwhelming competition has made it a little to get a true feel for who this team is when it matters a little more. We won’t answer all of those questions next Thursday when Texas visits No. 25 Seton Hall, but we’ll see what Chris Beard’s squad looks like against a pretty good team not named Gonzaga. Thus far, the Pirates are 6-1 with a three-point loss to Ohio State, but a win over then-No. 4 Michigan — a win that admittedly doesn’t look quite as good now with the Wolverines at 4-3. In any case, Seton Hall should be the best team Texas has played besides the Zags, so they’ll have to show up.
Here’s a random, but hilarious stat to end the night: Walk-on Tristen Licon outscored backup point guard Devin Askew, 5-to-0. Licon’s now scored in four games this season. Get this kid some more minutes!