In the penultimate non-conference game for the No. 7 Texas Longhorns before starting Big 12 play at the end of the month, acting head coach Rodney Terry’s team shot lights out against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns on the way to a comfortable victory on Wednesday at the Moody Center, 100-72.
Guard Arterio Morris turned in his best performance since arriving on the Forty Acres. Typically inefficient, Morris scored a game-high and career-high 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc. Forward Timmy Allen and guard Marcus Carr also added 17 points apiece as the Longhorns shot 58.1 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from three.
Texas started off the game with a hot start for the first time under Terry, making 5-of-7 shots from the field, including 2-of-3 attempts from distance, in taking a 14-6 lead at the under-16 timeout. Notably, guard Tyrese Hunter scored five points early after totaling only 10 points combined in the previous two games, a stretch that featured one of his worst performances in college — making only a single field goal in last week’s overtime win over Rice.
Louisiana standout forward Jordan Brown kept the Ragin’ Cajuns in the game early, scoring eight of the first 10 points for the visitors to help key a personal 6-0 run as the Longhorns cooled off from the field and committed several turnovers. Help from the bench fueled a surge from Texas as Morris hit a three, guard Brock Cunningham converted a three-point play, and guard Sir’Jabari Rice connected from deep. At the next media break, the lead was 23-14 for the Horns.
An 8-2 run featuring threes by Carr and Hunter, as well as a jumper by Carr, increased the margin to 33-19, forcing a timeout by Louisiana as the shooting mark from distance for Texas went to six makes on seven attempts. The Ragin’ Cajuns responded with consecutive two-point baskets to cut into the margin before the under-eight media timeout.
Then Allen had a personal run of his own, converting a three-point play and hitting a jumper to continue his strong play after a slow start to the season adjusting to new team dynamics.
OKAY TA— Texas Men’s Basketball (@TexasMBB) December 22, 2022
1H - 3:11 | TEXAS 43 ULL 33 pic.twitter.com/fMQ4ECRmya
Despite the plays by Allen, Louisiana was able to keep pace and went into the media break trailing 43-33.
The Longhorns immediately extended the lead to 15 points, the largest of the game, on free throws by Carr and a three by Cunningham, the eighth of the game for Texas. Dissecting the Ragin’ Cajuns, the Horns closed out the half with a layup by forward Christian Bishop, a fast-break dunk by Rice, a layup by Hunter, and a three by Morris for a 57-35 lead, the highest-scoring half of the season so far.
In the opening 20 minutes, Texas shot 59 percent from the field and 64 percent from three-point range in one of its most efficient stretches — Hunter and Carr combined for 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc.
The news from halftime wasn’t all ideal, however, as forward Dylan Disu suffered a left knee injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the game.
Louisiana was forced to use a timeout early in the second half after four straight points by Texas out of halftime — over about five minutes spanning the half, the Ragin’ Cajuns only managed two points.
Notably, after the fast start by Brown, the Horns were willing to double team him often in an attempt to make other players beat them and no one stepped up for the visitors, rather unsurprising given the talent and production margin between Brown and the other Ragin’ Cajuns entering the game. By the first media timeout in the second half, Brown had five turnovers.
A three by Louisiana only slightly ameliorated the difficulties scoring as Texas kept pouring in buckets, extending the lead to 28 points at the under-16 timeout thanks to plays like an alley-oop dunk by Bishop after the Horns broke fullcourt pressure by the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Christian Bishop Flight School™️ pic.twitter.com/XKRBFgmWWL— Texas Men’s Basketball (@TexasMBB) December 22, 2022
So most of the second half featured the Longhorns cruising through the easy victory while maintaining the efficient performance while forcing turnovers and keeping the Ragin’ Cajuns from shooting a high percentage inside or outside the arc.