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Quick thoughts from No. 12 Texas’ 72-57 win over UTEP

It was clearly the first game of the season, but when it mattered, Texas took control.

NCAA Basketball: Texas-El Paso at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022-23 college basketball season is underway, and the No. 12 Texas Longhorns officially opened the Moody Center in style with a 72-57 win over the UTEP Miners.

Here are a few quick thoughts from Texas’ win.

It was the first game of the season, and you could tell. The chemistry was off a bit, guys weren’t quite in sync offensively, and the consequence was a relatively sloppy game in which Texas committed 15 turnovers and shot just 28.6 percent (4-14) from deep. The defense didn’t go anywhere after last season, but offensively, there’s a bit of work to be done, and that’s honestly to be expected with several new faces in key roles.

I really like Texas’ backcourt. Tyrese Hunter picked up right where he left off as an award-winning freshman, Marcus Carr played confident and comfortable in his new role off the ball, and Sir’Jabari Rice is a more than welcome addition offensively. That trio combined for 44 points, and that doesn’t include five-star freshman Arterio Morris, who showed in Texas’ scrimmage vs. Arkansas that he can score in bunches. If this group can gel and complement each other well, the Longhorns’ backcourt could prove to be among the best in the Big 12.

Tyrese Hunter — baller. In his first game as a Longhorn, the Iowa State transfer led the way with 18 points on an efficient 6-8 from the field to go along with five boards and five assists. The reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Year got buckets in a variety of ways and looked the part of a player who might be Texas’ best this season. And not to mention, as the season goes on, his presence should only make life easier for his teammates.

Get to the glass. UTEP has more than its fair share of size, so the Miners aren’t a particularly easy team to gain a significant rebounding edge against, but Texas didn’t get the edge at all. The Longhorns were out-rebounded 32-27 and Rice and Hunter led the way in that regard, with six and five for Texas, respectively. Meanwhile, Dylan Disu, Timmy Allen, Christian Bishop, and Dylan Mitchell — Texas’ big bodies, basically — combined for just 13 boards. Not great.

Texas looked fairly weak on the fast break. There were a handful of times when the Longhorns had a guard — or Timmy Allen — pushing the pace with numbers and an ideal opportunity to get some easy points at the rim, only to come up empty. If history under Chris Beard proves true, this offense won’t be one that runs and guns and gets too many easy points, so the fast break is a clear early opportunity for Texas to take some strides forward.