Well, that was the most fun Texas basketball has looked in quite some time. From the atmosphere to the elite-level basketball to the dominant win over a blueblood program, this was a near perfect night for the No. 11 Texas Longhorns.
Here are a few quick thoughts from Texas’ 93-74 win over No. 2 Gonzaga.
This was a culture win for Chris Beard and the Longhorns. In front of the first truly packed house at the Moody Center, the Longhorns looked as good as they ever have under Chris Beard and completely took it to the nation’s No. 2 team and one of college basketball’s premier programs in Gonzaga. To be sure, expecting Texas to play this damn well every time out would be unfair, but this was a glimpse of how dangerous the Longhorns can be when they’re locked in. This kind of win should only serve as a springboard for the rest of the season.
Threes, please? Texas entered the game just 7-36 from deep through two games. On Wednesday night? They nearly doubled that total, connecting on 13-33 attempts. Tyrese Hunter was the headliner to that end with five threes, but multiple Longhorns found money from the perimeter and it played a major factor in Texas building and maintaining a sizable lead.
Tyrese Hunter is the the kind of point guard Texas needs to be great. The sophomore’s offensive talent is simply special, and it was on full display tonight with Hunter dropping a career-high 26 points on the Zags’ heads, headlined by a 5-8 showing from deep. His burst with the ball in his hands, his IQ, his aggressiveness, and again, his sheer offensive ability ... it’s a package Texas hasn’t had at the position in a while, and if he continues to grow, he’ll be a key reason the Horns will be a team to watch in March.
More of this Marcus Carr. Last season, he was the one running the offense and understandably trying to do so unselfishly to help a collection of new faces gel. This time around, he’s off the ball in role much more fitting for his natural offensive aggressiveness, and it’s clearly to his benefit. Carr has now reached double figures in every game this season, including a season-high 16 points vs. Gonzaga.
Break out the jorts. That’s the least we could do for Brock Cunningham after he played a notable role in Texas’ success on Wednesday. His best work was done in the first half, but much of it came during a key late stretch when Texas needed to prevent a late momentum-killing run from Gonzaga.
Dillon Mitchell ... this kid can absolutely fly. We clearly saw that on Wednesday with highlight dunk after highlight dunk. He’s no longer perfect on the season, but the true freshman’s impact has undoubtedly been felt. Including his latest performance, Mitchell is 11-12 on the season for 22 points, and has snagged 25 rebounds. Not too bad.