Texas Basketball gets another home win over a top-10 opponent in the Creighton Bluejays. What are some takeaways from the victory?
The ranked matchup of the No. 7 Creighton Blue Jays at the No. 2 Texas Basketball Longhorns had fans on the edge of their seats before the ball tipped. A packed, brand new Moody Center filled up with burnt orange and white “snake” balloons all over. Fans were excited for this much-anticipated matchup that ended in a 72-67 win for the Longhorns.
It wasn’t always pretty and there were times when an upset seemed to be inevitable. Texas found a way to pull through in the second half to earn the win. Here are some takeaways for the Longhorns.
1. Second-half scoring emergence
To say Texas’ scoring in the first half was disappointing is an understatement at best. They came into the second half up 32-27 but did shoot at 41.7% which is not something to be upset about. The concerning portion of that scoring was how terribly they shot from three. The first half concluded with the Longhorns only draining one three out of seven tries for a 14.3% clip. Granted Texas hasn’t been shooting well from beyond the arc this season as they averaged 30.1% before tonight’s game. But they were averaging 50.1% from the field before this game.
The second half was where their shooting got way better. They were a solid 40.1% from the field and ended up hitting three from beyond the arc for 25%. Texas scored 40 points, but they also allowed Creighton to score 40 and hit the same exact amount of shots and attempts from the field, with Marcus Carr and Timmy Allen highlighting the emergence.
2. Perimeter defense was golden
A crucial part of this win was Texas’ ability to shut down any semblance of a perimeter offensive game for Creighton. The Blue Jays are a fairly efficient three-point shooting team converting 35% of their attempts. Someway, somehow the Longhorns were able to completely shut down their three-point game and forced them into the midrange and down low in the paint which is not a weakness but adds pressure.
Both Creighton and Texas drained an equal amount of four three-pointers but the high-powered perimeter sharpshooting Blue Jays only converted 14.8% of their attempts. It doesn’t matter if your opponent is ranked lower than your team. When a team’s strong suit is shut down due to great and highly efficient defensive schemes and pressure, there is hardly anything that can keep you from a win. Texas showed Creighton why their defense helped lead them to their No. 2 ranking.
3. Bench play
A huge advantage Texas possessed over Creighton was their bench’s offensive play. The Longhorns bench totaled 13 points while the Blue Jays totaled a whopping zero. Along with the 13 points, the bench produced 14 rebounds and swatted the Longhorns’ only blocks in the game with three. No matter how elite a team may be, it is hard to win in a game where the starters were struggling without the bench showing up.
Without the contributions from Brock Cunningham, Christian Bishop, Arterio Morris, and Sir’Jabari Rice, this game could’ve gone south for the Longhorns. At least Texas fans will never need to feel that way after clinching onto their pearls for the full 40 minutes.