Last season, the Bulldogs used a career-high 37 points from Timme to handle the Longhorns easily in Spokane, but this Texas team is more cohesive in the second season under head coach Chris Beard and more athletic with the additions of guard Tyrese Hunter and forward Dillon Mitchell. Both factors have contributed to the Horns playing more often and more effectively in the open court, opening the season with a 43-1 advantage in fast-break points.
Texas starting lineup
- Senior guard Marcus Carr
- Sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter
- Senior forward Timmy Allen
- Freshman forward Dillon Mitchell
- Senior forward Dylan Disu
After the two team’s combined the miss the first four shots of the game, Disu hit a three from the wing and Timme scored in the post over the Vanderbilt transfer. Confusion in pick-and-roll coverage by the Horns allowed an open three by Bulldogs guard Nolan Hickman and forward Anton Watson sent home a dunk as Timme made a good pass out of a double team and Texas was late with its defensive rotation. Hickman hit another threw as Gonzaga opened up a 10-3 lead, but was immediately called for a technical foul for taunting. Senior guard Si’Jabari Rice responded by hitting both free throws to slow the momentum for the Bulldogs prior to the under-12 timeout.
A steal by senior forward Christian Bishop produced the first fast-break points by the Horns on a finish through Timme, but the Bulldogs star responded with a basket of his own in the paint, the fifth straight made field goal for Gonzaga. Following an unforced turnover by the Bulldogs, Carr hit a three to tie the game before Gonzaga guard Malachi Smith responded with a triple of his own and an out-of-bounds produced a layup. Another three by Carr and a layup by Disu in transition tied the game at 17-17 and brought the Moody Center crowd to its feet. Watson, however, temporarily silenced the fans before Hunter hit a pullup jumper and the Horns forced the fifth turnover by the Bulldogs to send the game into the second television timeout with Gonzaga leading 20-19.
Bishop then made another post-timeout play, driving and dishing to Mitchell for a slam and Hunter made his second three of the season for a quick 5-0 burst that went to 7-1 when Carr made a pullup jumper following a Gonzaga free throw, eventually taking a 26-23 lead into the under-eight timeout.
Dribble penetration by Carr produced a corner three for Rice and the largest lead for the Horns at six points prior to a three by the Bulldogs, this time from guard Julius Strawther. in response, Carr continued his hot start with a rainbow three of his own, giving him 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 3-of-4 shooting from distance. Rice was then able to hit two more free throws after a technical foul called on Watson to extend the lead back to six before a hustle putback on the offensive glass. After a basket by Gonzaga, Bishop beat Timme on a post move for a reverse layup and a 38-30 lead.
A pullup jumper from Hunter and a three by senior forward Brock Cunningham helped Texas maintain its lead with the half ticking down into its final moments and Gonzaga used a timeout with 1:18 remaining after freshman guard Arterio Morris found Cunningham for a reverse layup to capitalize on an offensive rebound and take an eight-point lead. Out of the timeout, Cunningham stole a pass and finished with a layup to continue the momentum for the Longhorns, then forced a travel by Timme with some tenacious defense in the post as Texas took a 47-37 lead into halftime.
The Longhorns forced 11 turnovers that led to 11 points by Texas as Beard’s team recovered from a slow shooting start to hit 51.5 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from three-point range in one of the best halves played by the Longhorns since Beard’s return to the Forty Acres. Gonzaga was efficient when they were able to get shots up, hitting 54.2 percent, but the four free throws from technical fouls were critical points for Texas. Carr’s 11 points led the Horns as Hunter contributed nine points, Rice scored nine points of his own, and Cunningham’s seven straight points marked one of the best stretches of his Longhorns career.
With Cunningham’s individual effort late in the half and more frequent double teams than Texas showed last season in Spokane, Timme was limited to eight points, three rebounds, and two turnovers in the first half as the Longhorns forced him to work on the defensive end, too.
Disu opened the scoring in the second half with a jumper assisted by Carr passing out of a trap and Hunter hit a three off the dribble sandwiched around a triple by Strawther. When Disu hit three, the Texas lead was up to 15 points and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few was forced to spend an early timeout or risk the Bulldogs getting run off the Moody Center court.
A basket in the paint by Timme forced the third foul on Disu, sending him to the bench as Hunter made Gonzaga play for switching to a zone defense. Then Bishop forced the third turnover by Timme, setting up another three by Hunter for a 19-point lead. Gonzaga guard Rasir Bolton was able to finish through contact as the under-16 timeout split up a potential three-point play, but the Bulldogs were on the brink down 17 points.
Hunter stayed hot after Bolton hit his free throw, nailing a pullup jumper for a game-high 20 points, but Texas lost some momentum when Cunningham picked up two quick fouls and Allen was called for a technical foul following a Gonzaga turnover. Hunter helped recover it quickly, though, turning a steal by Bishop into a three-point play. Texas eventually went into the under-12 timeout with a 19-point lead.
Texas continued to pour it on with Hunter hitting his fifth three and Few forced to use yet another timeout after Rice blocked a shot by Timme to spark a fast break that concluded with Carr hitting a corner three, his fourth of the game, as the Longhorns took a 20-point lead.
During a short lull, Texas went almost two minutes without scoring before Disu showed off a nice up-and-under move in the paint for a layup, but Gonzaga wasn’t able to significantly cut into the Longhorns lead during that stretch. So in the evening’s most surprising development, there wasn’t much drama in the final six minutes — or even throughout most of the second half — as Texas remained strongly in control.
Two dunks by Mitchell, including a fast-break alley oop on an assist from Rice, extended the lead by 23 points and sent the Moody Center crowd into celebration mode as the game was far too out of hand for Few to even bother calling a timeout before the under-four break. Mitchell added another slam, a left-handed putback, and the Horns cruised to a 93-74 victory.