Opportunistic and aggressive, the No. 20 Texas Longhorns finished the non-conference portion of the schedule on Monday with a 79-62 win over the UT Arlington Mavericks at the Moody Center.
Head coach Rodney Terry’s team turned 15 turnovers by the Mavericks into 27 points to post a 19-point advantage in that category and got to the basket effectively, outscoring UTA 34-18 in the paint by producing three dunks and eight layups, as well as shooting twice as many free throws for a plus-12 margin at the line.
For Texas, senior guard Max Abmas scored a game-high 18 points to reflect one of Terry’s frequent maxims — Abmas is going to get his points. On Monday, that meant 5-of-14 shooting from the field, including 3-of-9 shooting from three with two of those long-range conversions coming in the first four minutes. Of the first seven baskets by the Longhorns, four were layups and three came form beyond the arc, a sign of effective execution by the home team.
With junior guard Tyrese Hunter out due to illness, senior guard IT Horton received the start and scored in double digits for the first time since November with 13 points, making three three-pointers, while adding 10 rebounds, second on the team to senior forward Brock Cunningham, who corralled 11 boards. It was an especially active performance for Cunningham, even by his lofty standards — six of his 11 rebonds came on the offensive end in addition to four assists and three blocks.
Senior forward Kadin Shedrick added 17 points, getting to the free-throw line for eight attempts, converting seven, and also blocked two shots.
Texas built a double-digit lead thanks to a 10-0 run that featured threes by Horton and sophomore guard Chendall Weaver and four points from Shedrick. Early in the second half, the Longhorns created more separation with a 14-3 run keyed by three-point plays by Abmas and sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell. During that surge, Abmas also had a layup and a three and Mitchell had a dunk. Down the stretch, the Mavericks failed to threaten the Longhorns.
Conference play starts on Saturday against Texas Tech at the Moody Center.