The Texas Longhorns did enough to win tonight but little more, beating the Long Beach State 49ers, 78-68. It was a balanced scoring effort, as five Texas players finished with ten or more points. LBSU guard Mike Caffey led all scorers with 23 points on 8-14 shooting.
Rick Barnes' team pulled out to a sizable lead in the first half, leading by as many as 15 points before the 49ers fought back. Strong transition offense and effective perimeter shooting were both responsible for the early Texas lead.
But Dan Monson's squad did fight back. Senior guard Mike Caffey did what he has done all season, going 4-6 from beyond the arc, and scoring 23 highly efficient points. Texas struggled with foul trouble in the first half as Holland, Holmes, and Turner all picked up two fouls during the first period. Perhaps as a result of this, the Longhorns spent much of the later parts of the half in zone. The zone defense didn't have an answer for Caffey, who shot the ball from all over the floor, finding (or creating) space for his shot.
In the second half, sloppy play got the better of Texas, as six turnovers in the first seven minutes allowed the hot shooting 49ers to briefly take the lead. But that lead held for less than a minute, as Texas tightened up its ball security, committing only three turnovers the rest of the game.
It was by far Texas' worst defensive performance of the season, as for the first time a Texas opponent scored more than one point per possession. LBSU managed 1.01 PPP against the stingy Texas D; the previous high was held by Kentucky with 0.94 points per trip. Most of the damage was done by Caffey, but his teammates chipped in to help from beyond the arc -- the 49ers finished the night shooting 40 percent from three point range.
All in all, the Longhorns played an incomplete game and struggled to contain one of the better scoring guards outside of the power conferences.
--Something you don't see every game happened in the first half when Demarcus Holland prepared to shoot a free throw, but decided instead that he needed to throw up. He ran from the free throw line to the nearest trash can and then... the camera cut away. He would return a few minutes later, and hopefully in the future will lay off the pregame Earl Campbell Sausages.