Texas basketball did get some of their confidence back after putting up a solid effort in a 62-45 Nov. 22 win over the Cal Golden Bears at MSG.
The Texas basketball program got very mixed results in their outing in two games in the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden to enter the weekend. New York City treated Texas well for three quarters. But one bad quarter against head coach Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas will overshadow this entire outing in MSG.
The Texas Longhorns basketball program saw Georgetown upend them in the first leg of the 2K Empire Classic behind more than a 20-point second half collapse. That resulted in a final score of 82-66 in the Hoyas’ favor.
Then, the Longhorns took down the 4-1 Cal Golden Bears to at least claim third place in the 2K Empire Classic. That left the No. 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils to battle Georgetown for the title in this invitational tournament. Duke was a very heavy favorite in the final of this invitational tournament over the Hoyas. But it was Georgetown that got off to a hot start against Duke.
However, in the matchup between the Longhorns and Golden Bears, it was head Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart and his squad that got off to the hot start. It took really no time at all for the Longhorns to come out of the gates on fire.
While junior guard Matt Coleman didn’t have his best start of the season so far, the pace picked up behind the production of junior small forward Jase Febres and junior big man Jericho Sims. Febres finished the game shooting a solid 4-of-6 from three-point range, good for 12 points. Sims also added 12 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds, three assists, and one block.
Other solid production for the Longhorns came from true freshman power forward Kai Jones and a few decent plays from sophomore guard Courtney Ramey. Shooting a fairly poor 4-of-15 from the field and a dismal 1-of-7 from three-point range, Ramey at least contributed his fair share on defense with six rebounds and one steal.
This game was won for the Longhorns on defense, a calling card of Smart’s teams. When the defense shows up, this type of result can happen where the Longhorns notch significant double-digit point victories. But when it falters in the second half, like it did against Georgetown while giving up 82 points, then a lot of heat comes Smart’s way.
But Texas got this victory by the final score of 62-45, and a handful of the team stats were pretty impressive. Texas finished up with 17 assists compared to Cal’s eight. They also shot about seven percent better from the field than Cal and got off a lot more shots in general. Texas had 62 field goal attempts compared to Cal’s 45.
Moreover, turnovers were a telling sign of how this game went for the Golden Bears. Texas turned the ball over just five times, which is partly due to the rather slow pace they play at move the ball around at. Yet, that’s still an important trend to follow moving forward.
After this solid 62-45 win over Cal (ironically enough the exact count of field goal attempts that each team had), the Longhorns move to a record of 5-1 on the season. Meanwhile, Cal moves to 4-2. Next up for Texas is a Nov. 30 home showdown against McNeese State as they return to the Frank Erwin Center to cap off the month.