The No. 2 Texas Longhorns were back in action on Saturday and got back into the win column, smothering the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions, 88-43.
Here are a few quick thoughts from Texas’ latest win.
Christian Bishop was the best player in burnt orange and white. He eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for his career on Saturday after turning in a season-best 16-point, nine-rebound, four-assist performance. As usual, Bishop was active on both ends up the floor, fighting for loose balls and positioning down low, and he was especially assertive offensively to help spark the Longhorns’ offense early.
Dillon Mitchell in the dunker spot is always fun. The five-star freshman put yet another efficient performance together, and much of his work was done from the dunker’s spot where he was a perfect 5-5 for 10 points with four dunks. Factor in another fast-break slam and a free throw and Mitchell’s career-high 13 points set him up as the only Longhorns starter to reach double figures on Saturday. And not to mention, Mitchell recorded his first career assist after an offensive rebound.
Brock Cunningham, sharpshooter? Generally, no, but after sinking all three of his attempts today en route to a career-high 13 points, Cunningham has made 5-6 from deep over the last two games. Offense isn’t why he’s a key part of Texas’ rotation by any means and teams won’t have him in their scouting reports as a consistent threat from deep, but if he can find a way to cash in on a few here and there like he did today, that’s found money for the Horns.
I’d like to see a bit more consistency from Texas’ best players. Texas’ depth negates the need for guys to be at their best every time out, but if you didn’t know better, it might at times be difficult to tell that Tyrese Hunter (7 points, 2 assists) is the Longhorns’ best player or that Dylan Disu (6 points, 2 rebounds) is starting over Bishop for a reason. It doesn’t quite matter as much against teams Texas can simply overmatch like Arkansas Pine-Bluff, but with Big 12 play nearing, Texas is going to need its best players to be that more consistently. With only Mitchell cracking double-figures in the scoring column, the Longhorns’ bench outscored the starters 49-39.
Bouncing back in a big way is always good. Days after a heartbreaking overtime loss to No. 17 Illinois in Madison Square Garden that will surely drop them a few spots in the polls, Texas got back on track with a 45-point win over the Golden Lions. Texas was going to win this game regardless considering the opponent, but overcoming a back-and-forth start to more than double your opponent's point total, all while several of Texas’ best players didn’t play close to their best, is a positive.