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No. 23 Texas surges past Eastern Washington 85-52

Another night, another win for Smart’s 3-0 Texas Longhorns.

NCAA Basketball: Eastern Washington at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for the No. 23-ranked Texas Longhorns to impose their will on a notably undermanned Eastern Washington team en route to a 85-52 blowout victory. With more than half of the first half to play, Texas had already established a 22-11 lead and never looked back, courtesy of what became the ‘Horns most complete effort through three games.

Leading the way for Texas was sophomore Tevin Mack and freshman Andrew Jones with Mack pouring on 19 points after hitting 4-of-8 from deep, while Jones 17 points marked a career-high by way of a 6-of-8 shooting display. The collective 36 points from Mack and Jones came off the bench, while Kerwin Roach Jr., Eric Davis Jr. and Kendal Yancy added 11, 10 and 10 points, respectively.

For Jim Hayford’s Eagles, it was essentially a three-man show headlined by upperclassmen Bogdan Bliznyuk, Jacob Wiley and Felix Von Hofe. Bluznyuk was far-and-away the best player for Eastern Washington Thursday night. The junior led the team with 22 points on 10-of-21 shooting, while Wiley added 10 points and Von Hofe added eight of his own. Collectively, the trio scored 40 of the Eagles’ 52 points, which was far from enough to steal a road win over a ranked opponent.

As a unit, Eastern Washington shot 36.1 percent from the field and connected on only 3-of-21 attempts from the perimeter.

The narrative for Texas told a much different story. Five players reached double figures in the scoring column and the ‘Horns dished out 17 assists to just 11 turnovers. Eastern Washington, on the other hand, saw its six assists overshadowed by 16 turnovers, which often led to Longhorn points. Texas won the rebounding battle with a 44-to-31 edge and shot 45.2 percent from the field, including an 11-of-29 effort from deep.

Though the competition hasn’t been the stiffest, there’s some tremendous signs from this youthful bunch of ‘Horns. Jarrett Allen and Jacob Young struggled a bit from the field, collectively shooting 1-of-9 from the field with Young held scoreless. James Banks played tremendously within his role and as noted, Jones’ 17 points are a new career-high following an impressive two-way showing and scoring in a multitude of ways.

Roach, Davis and Mack — the headlining trio of sophomores — combined for 40 points and a team-wide six blocks and six steals showcased the defensive potential of this team under Smart.

Next up, Texas heads to Brooklyn on Monday to face off with Northwestern to open the championship rounds of the Legends Classic.