AUSTIN, Texas — In the second of two games sandwiched between a 93-74 win over then-No. 2 Gonzaga and an upcoming tilt with No. 10 Creighton, No. 4 Texas took care of business in the program’s throwback game at Gregory Gym by blasting UTRGV on Saturday, 91-54, to close out the Leon Black Classic in style. Sir'Jabari Rice scored a game-high 19 points off of the bench to lead four Longhorns who scored in double figures (Marcus Carr with 18, Tyrese Hunter with 17 and Dillon Mitchell with 10) while true freshman Arterio Morris scored seven of his nine points in the final 1:42 as part of a game-ending 8-1 run (outscored the Vaqueros 13-2 over the final 3:36).
The closing stretch where redshirt freshmen Cole Bott and Gavin Perryman shared the court with Morris, true freshman Alex Anamekwe and Brock Cunningham (four points, six rebounds and one steal in 18 minutes) is a key piece to the current regime’s culture, Beard said. The coaches will break down that segment of the game as much as they’ll analyze the first 10 minutes of Saturday’s romp, which speaks to how pleased Beard was with the strong finish. Aerobic Dance Steps
“My expectation is when we get down to the game we're not playing the scoreboard, we're playing real minutes,” head coach Chris Beard said. “We ended the game on an 8-1 run. Alex and Gavin and Cole made some great, great plays.
“We play 40 minutes around here,” he added. “Not 37. Not 38. The scoreboard doesn't dictate the way we're trying to play the game. I thought those guys did a great job tonight finishing the game off. An 8-1 run to end the game was exactly how we wanted to try to play.”
Texas (5-0) played suffocating defense from the jump, scoring 28 points off of UTRGV’s (4-3) 22 turnovers while holding the Vaqueros to 35.2-percent effort shooting the ball (19-for-54), including a 1-for-9 mark from 3-point range. Dylan Disu tied his career high with five blocked shots and recorded three steals to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds, six points and four assists to help the Longhorns open a season with five wins in a row for the first time since the 2018-19 campaign.
“I just wanted to play hard,” Disu said of a game where his rebounding and blocked shot totals matched his combined output from the four games. “The coaching staff has been challenging me to affect the game on both ends of the floor, so I just continued to try to do that. I'm sure a lot of you know about my rebounding numbers so far this season. The coaching staff has also challenged me to continue to crash the boards and make an impact there as well. I'm really trying to work on that and bring that to the floor.”
Disu’s layup with 39 seconds remaining until halftime was part of a stretch where Texas outscored UTRGV 13-4, which included Mitchell finishing off a lob from Carr with one of his three highlight-reel dunks in the first half. One of Rice’s three 3-pointers (the Longhorns shot 10-for-33 from beyond the arc with Rice, Carr and Hunter combining to go 9-for-20) in the run helped Texas grab a 22-point halftime lead, 44-22.
The Vaqueros cut their deficit to 21 points with 8:41 to go in the game thanks in part to a 4-for-12 shooting slump by the Longhorns (Texas failed to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor for the first time this season, finishing with a 45.8-percent mark on a 33-for-72 day shooting the ball). That’s when the Longhorns surged ahead and crushed whatever hope UTRGV had of making things interesting as back-to-back threes from Hunter and Carr and a run-out dunk by Rice triggered by one of four blocked shots by Christian Bishop (six points and four rebounds) accounted for an 8-0 run and a 29-point lead, 72-43, with 7:42 to go.
For the second year in a row, Texas used their exempt multi-team event to honor a former coach with Black’s recognition coming on the heels of last season’s Abe Lemons Classic. Black, who died at the age of 89 on Oct. 12, 2019, played for the Longhorns and served as an assistant coach on the Forty Acres before winning 106 games, two Southwest Conference championships and trips to the NCAA Tournament over nine seasons (1967-76) as the program’s head coach.
Beard wants to continue honoring the men who paved the way for himself and his players (Texas hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 10 in the Jimmy Blacklock Classic, which will honor the first Black letterman in 1970). Beard also plans to pay homage to the program’s past with an annual regular-season game at Gregory Gym.
“I thought our crowd was great tonight,” Beard said of the response from a sellout crowd of 3.500. “[It's] Thanksgiving break, but the students continue to come out. The Corral was awesome. Tonight's game was limited only by the fire marshall in attendance here, so it was just awesome for all of the fans to be here. We really, really appreciate it. We're committed to doing this throwback game every year, if at all possible.
“Some years this will be a student-only game,” he added. “Tonight, because of Thanksgiving break, we wanted to let Longhorn Nation come as well. I thought this was a great game of Texas basketball tonight.”
Horns247 was on the scene, providing live updates throughout the game. Here’s how the Longhorns won their final tune-up before welcoming the Bluejays to Moody Center for a high-leverage affair in the Big 12-Big East Battle on Thursday (6 p.m., ESPN), which is followed by a trip to Madison Square Garden to face No. 16 Illinois in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 6 (6 p.m., ESPN):
Texas: Tyrese Hunter, G, Soph. (16 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game); Marcus Carr, G, Sr. (14 points, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game); Timmy Allen, F, Sr. (6.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game); Dillon Mitchell, F, Fr.-HS (7.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game); Dylan Disu, F, Sr. (10 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game)
UTRGV: Will Johnston, G, Soph. (11.7 points, 4.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game); Sherman Brashear, G, Soph. (7.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game); Justin Johnson, F, Sr. (19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds 2.3 assists per game); Ahren Freeman, F, Jr. (6.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game); Dima Zdor, C, Sr. (12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 13 blocked shots per game)
— The Longhorns waste no time exploding out of the gates, taking a 10-0 lead with 16:58 on the clock after Carr nails a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner. The triple forces the Vaqueros to call a timeout. Texas has been suffocating at the defensive end of the floor, holding UTRGV to an 0-for-4 start to the game shooting the ball with three turnovers.
— Carr splits a double team and gets an off-balance runner to fall before the under-16 media timeout hits. The game's second stoppage comes at the 15:38 mark with the Longhorns owning a 12-1 lead. Texas has made three of its last four shots while the Vaqueros continue to struggle, off to an 0-for-6 start with five turnovers.
— The first UTRGV field goal of the day comes after the first Longhorn turnover. Hunter dribbles the ball off of his foot and out of out bounds. Zdor gets a bucket down low on the ensuing possession for the Vaqueros at the 15:04 mark to make it a 12-3 game in favor of Texas.
— A short-corner jumper by Bishop snaps a scoring drought of 3:06 and Sir'Jabari Rice follows with a nice shot fake, a drive down the lane and a bucket with a foul sending him to the line where he completes a three-point play the old-fashioned way. The Longhorns own a 17-5 lead at the under-12 media timeout, which comes with 11:26 remaining in the half. UTRGVn is 2-for-11 from the field with six turnovers to this point as Texas continues to smother them at the defensive end of the court. Hunter leads all scorers with seven points.
— After Arterio Morris puts back a missed 3-pointer from the wing by Rice with 11:02 on the clock, the Longhorns go nearly five minutes without a field goal until a Disu steal leads to a run-out dunk by Hunter with 7:24 to go until halftime. Texas missed six shots in a row and found itself mired in a 1-for-9 shooting slump before Hunter's dunk, which allows the Longhorns to take a 21-9 lead into the under-8 media timeout, which comes at the 7:07 mark. The dry spell has Texas heading down the home stretch of the first half with an 8-for-23 performance from the field. Thankfully, 11 points off of 10 UTRGV turnovers and has helped make up for the shooting woes.
— Mitchell sends the Gregory Gym crowd into a frenzy with two dunks in a span of 63 seconds. He throws down a one-handed slam after a steal and following a Carr 3-pointer to answer a three-point play by Zdor, Carr finds him along the baseline. Mitchell gets the ball and gets vertical, going up and over the 6-foot-10-inch Zdor for a vicious throwdown. Christian Bishop is unfortunately called for a technical foul heading back down the court, which leads to three quick points for the Vaqueros. Rice is fouled with 3:29 to go, which triggers the final media timeout of the half. The Longhorns lead the Vaqueros, 32-17.
— Texas puts together a 6-0 run to take a 19-point lead, 36-17. The lead gets pushed to 21 after Mitchell finishes off a lob from Carr for his third highlight-reel dunk of the half and Cunningham is fouled on a scramble for a loose ball with Zdor, which gets a strong reaction from the crowd before Cunningham knocks down one of two foul shots. With a 3-pointer from the wing by Rice and a drive for a layup by Disu, the Longhorns outscore the Vaqueros 14-3 from the 4;04 mark of the first half to inside of the final 40 seconds on the clock when Disu's bucket drops.
— Johnston's layup inside the final 25 seconds is the final bucket of the half. Disu misses a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to send the game to halftime with Texas owning a 22-point lead.
— The Longhorns start the final 20 minutes of play the way they started the first, getting out to a 7-0 run with Disu doing a lot of the damage. Disu erases Johnston's layup attempt and is rewarded with a bucket at the other end and a trip to the line for a potential three-point play. He misses the free throw, but Rice is fouled chasing down the rebound and retaining possession of the ball leads to Hunter hitting a 3-pointer from the corner. Disu rebounds Carr's off-the-mark transition 3-point attempt and goes back up with one hand for a short jumper. Disu has six points and rebounds and Texas has its largest lead of the game, 55-21.
— It's a 53-27 lead for the Longhorns at the under-16 media timeout, which comes with 15:07 to go. Before the stoppage, Disu heads to the locker room accompanied by team personnel, but he's back in the huddle before the action continues and takes a seat on the bench. Texas is going with a lineup of Hunter, Rice, Morris, Cunningham and Bishop out of the timeout.
— Bishop ends a 6-0 run by the Vaqueros by getting into the lane and hitting a hook shot. Johnson drives and gets a runner to go in off of the glass at the other end, however, making it a 55-33 game in favor of the Longhorns.
— Disu, who has tied his career high with five blocked shots in today's game, checks in at the 12:47 mark with Texas owning a 57-33 lead. Two free throws by Cunningham 23 seconds later put the Longhorns up by 26, 59-33.
— Texas has a 23-point lead, 59-36, when the under-12 media timeout comes at the 11:15 mark. The Longhorns are 6-for-18 shooting the ball in the second half, including a 1-for-8 showing from beyond the arc. The Vaqueros only have one point off of four Texas turnovers, which has minimized the lull in the offensive production caused by a 4-for-12 shooting slump.
— A reverse layup by Mitchell ends a scoring drought of 3:15 for the Longhorns. Carr knocks down a 3-pointer from the wing with 9:44 to play to push the Texas lead back to 24, 64-40.
— Back-to-back 3-pointers (one by Hunter in the corner and one by Carr in front of the Longhorn bench and a run-out dunk by Rice off of a ferocious blocked shot by Bishop account for an 8-0 run. Texas opens up a 72-43 with 7:42 to go when the Vaqueros call a timeout. Carr has a game-high 18 points with Hunter (17) and Rice (12) right behind him in the scoring column.
— With the Longhorns leading UTRGV by 27, 72-45, the under-8 media timeout comes with 7:02 on the clock. Texas has scored 25 points off of 20 turnovers by the Vaqueros while the Longhorns own a 16-2 edge in fast-break points.
— A stretch where Texas makes eight of 10 shots from the floor helps open up a 28-point lead, 78-50. Allen, who hits the last shot in the sequence off of an under-the-basket feed from Bishop, fouls out at the 4:34 mark with two points and four rebounds in 16 minutes of action.
— Rice knocks down a jumper while falling down and then gets a friendly bounce on a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Longhorns a 31-point lead, 82-53, their largest today. Beard calls a timeout with 2:54 remaining in regulation, which triggers the final media timeout of the game. Rice has a game-high 19 points and he's out of the game as Texas takes the floor for the closing minutes. Morris, Cunningham, Alex Anamekwe, Gavin Perryman and Cole Bott are on the floor for the Longhorns.
— Texas ends the game on an 8-1 run, outscoring the Vaqueros 13-2 over the final 3:36 and holding them without a field goal for the final 3:58. The Longhorns move to 5-0 on the season with a 37-point win.
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