The 2023-24 season continues for the No. 18 Texas Longhorns on Friday at the Moody Center against the Delaware State Hornets in a game moved back to accommodate the women’s soccer team playing its first-round NCAA Tournament matchup next door at Mike Myers Stadium against the Lamar Cardinals at 6 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.
Delaware State enters the game 0-1 on the season after a 79-45 loss to a Penn State team ranked No. 77 in KenPom.com’s adjusted efficiency metric. At No. 324, the Hornets profile as only marginally better than the Cardinals team the Longhorns defeated 88-56 on Monday in the season opener for both teams. For Delaware State, the nation’s 326th-ranked offense in adjusted efficiency struggled mightily against Penn State, shooting just 28.8 percent from the field and 6.3 percent from the three-point line, hitting 1-of-16 attempts from beyond the arc. Zero players reached double digits for the Delaware State. The defense didn’t fare much better for the Hornets, allowing the Nittany Lions to connect on 49.1 percent of their shots and 37.5 percent of their three-point attempts.
So it’s another game about Texas and how the Longhorns perform under head coach Rodney Terry, specifically in replicating areas of success in the win over the Cardinals. Offensively, Texas played unselfish basketball in addition to playing fast with 20 assists on 32 field goals, including five players with at least three assists, and scored 23 points off 17 turnovers while forcing UIW to play one-on-one basketball with just six assists on 19 made baskets. Creating turnovers and securing defensive rebounds helped the Horns get out in transition, which Terry sees as a burgeoning team strength this season, to secure a 27-0 nothing advantage in fast-break points.
“I think early on, and not only us, but a lot of teams early in the journey as they embark on the season, a glaring area that always stands out a lot of times is transition defense. It’s not a lot of times until you get to midseason that guys fully understand the importance of getting back on defense, protecting your paint, and also taking away threes in transition,” said Terry on Wednesday.
“We were playing a team the other night that really wants to attack in transition and in particular, they want to shoot a lot of threes in transition. So they really put a lot of pressure to sprint back, load our defense, and also have shooter defense, and you’ll see that a lot throughout the course of the season.”
Terry also looks at three-point percentage defense, field-goal percentage defense, and limiting opposing offensive rebounds, a challenge against a Delaware State team that crashed the boards hard in securing 17 offensive rebounds and turning those second-chance opportunities into 18 points, 40 percent of the team’s total.
For Texas against UIW, the scoring was balanced, too, as five players scored in double digits, led by 17 points from senior guard IT Horton, who also made a team-high three three-pointers. Senior guard Max Abmas, junior guard Tyrese Hunter, and junior forward Ze’Rik Onyema also scored in double digits, but arguably the most impressive performance given the context was that of senior forward Kaden Shedrick, recently cleared after an offseason shoulder surgery. While Shedrick only played 11:23 as he ramps up his conditioning, he made the most of his limited time on the court, recording 12 points (3-3 FG, 6-7 FT), five rebounds, a career-high three assists without turning the ball over, and a game-high three blocked shots.
How to watch:
TV: Longhorn Network
Time: 8:00 p.m. Central
Odds: The Longhorns are 31-point favorites at DraftKings.
Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.