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Shooting From the Corner: Texas 85, Eastern Washington 52

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Texas Grounds the Eagles Early

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

A 15-point halftime lead ballooned to 26 early in the second half, and the Texas Longhorns cruised to a 33-point win against an Eastern Washington squad who was long on Europeans but short on height & athleticism. It’s still early in the season, but it’s starting to look more and more like the close contest against Incarnate Word was the outlier performance. Texas shot well from outside, moved the ball well more often than not, and played solid defense against a team known for scoring in bunches. There’s not a lot to complain about with this game, but I’m sure I’ll find something by the time I’m in that section.

(Or not.)

(Yes I will.)

The Good

Jarrett Allen

6 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists in yet another “he just kinda makes things happen” game for the 5-star big man. Jarrett Allen had as many assists in this game as Shaquille Cleare had all of last season; I know Shaka likes playing two bigs together, but it’s hard not to see why Allen camped on the high post passing the ball to perimeter threats is so alluring. He just sees the floor so well for a freshman, and he has the ability to get the ball to anyone at any time. Regardless of the role Shaka puts Allen in, he’s likely to succeed. Well, maybe not stretch-4. That would be bad on a number of levels.

Andrew Jones

I promise I won’t talk about him every recap — yes I will — but Andrew Jones is really damn fun to watch. He had his best game as a Longhorn tonight, connecting on his first 5 shots, snagging 3 steals, and generally harassing those poor Eastern European Eagle guards all night long. He scored 17 points and ran roughshod through an Eagles defense that makes Kliff Kingsbury blush. He had a breakaway dunk in the second half where he nearly hit his forehead on the rim, and that wasn’t even his most jaw-dropping feat of athleticism in the game. Plus, his play-making in the first half gave me a chance to give Dustin McComas hell, which is a bonus.

(I like Dustin, he’s good people.)

Tevin Mack

Another promising result from Tevin, leading the team with 19 points shooting 6-13 from the floor and 4-8 from three. He did get a little ball-hoggy for a couple plays towards the end, but the game was pretty out of hand and he was in heat check mode so I’m not too concerned. When the game was still in doubt, Tevin put his best foot forward.

Kendal Yancy

Kendal had another solid game, and more importantly he hit quality shots early in the game when some of the other players were still getting into a groove. 10 points, 4 boards, and he hit both of his free throws; this is the kind of effort Texas needs from a senior playing a supporting role.

Team Defense

Eastern Washington is well-known as a team that loves to push the pace offensively; our BON brethren said as much in their game preview. Texas managed to hold the Eagles to 52 points and 0.72 points per possession, which is a stellar mark. To put it in perspective, in the atrocious season-opener last season in China where Texas hit less shots than Bill Walton landed Ali Baba references, the Horns still came out of the game with 0.84 points per possession. Texas locked the Eagles down.

(I could rightfully put Kerwin Roach and James Banks in this category tonight, pretty much everybody played well. But I have to work later tonight, so they’re getting a polite hat-tip before I move this thing along.)

The Mixed Bag

Eric Davis Jr.

Bad: he was 2-7 from three. Good: He was 2-12 coming into the game, so that’s pointing in the right direction. To Eric’s credit, despite being pretty clearly frustrated his shots aren’t falling, he doesn’t hang his head at all. The only guys on the team out-rebounding Eric are a half-foot taller than him and make their living 5 feet from the rim, so Eric’s effort level is still there. When his three-ball starts to fall more regularly, he’ll be yet another net-positive on the offensive end.

The Bad

Jarrett Allen’s Free Throws

Hey, he hit 4 free throws tonight, which is twice his season total. Unfortunately, it took him 9 free throws to get there. This may be a season where Allen hovers around the 50% mark (or worse) which will make for some interesting late-game situations later in the season.

Crowd Attendance

I know, it’s a Thursday night and most Texas fans are paying more attention to Tom Herman because football rules everything around Austin. Still, I could’ve walked in and sat 5 rows from T.J. Ford on a night when he’s getting honored at halftime, and I have enough gray hair the attendants probably wouldn’t have asked to see my ticket. If Texas fans want to start competing with the Dukes and Kentuckys of the world, they need to start supporting like the Dukes and Kentuckys of the world. The Wildcats had over 20,000 fans show up to an exhibition game. It’s not like Rupp Arena is much less cavernous than the Drum, either, they just pack it out and scream like hell.

(I told you I’d come up with something to complain about.)

3-0 is a good start, and Texas appears to be rounding into form despite not having quite all their roster back yet. It’s time for the young’ins to leave the friendly confines though, as they travel to Brooklyn for a two-game stretch against better competition than they’ve faced to date. Up next: the Northwestern Wildcats, who — if you’ve read Smart Texas Basketball — you know is a team that could be a solid test for a Longhorns squad long on ability but short on experience. The game is Monday night on LHN, tip is 8:30 pm CT.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by James Kelley.