Texas Basketball: 2 studs, 1 dud from Longhorns easy win vs. Rice

Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /
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No. 19 Texas basketball had three players each scoring at least 13 points against the Rice Owls on Nov. 15 at the Moody Center in Austin as they achieved their third-straight double-digit win to open the 2023-24 regular season. Texas led for all but 13 seconds of this game against Rice to cruise to an 80-64 win at home.

Head coach Rodney Terry and the Longhorns came up with a total team win over Rice, beating the Owns in most major areas of the stat sheet. Aside from a tough night from the charity stripe and 16 turnovers, Texas had another positive showing at the Moody Center early this season.

No. 19 Texas basketball has another ultra-efficient shooting night in 80-64 win over Rice

Most impressive was that the Longhorns shot 60.4 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from beyond the arc against Rice. It looked like Texas couldn’t miss from the field and beyond the arc, especially in the first half (shooting 55 percent from deep in the first 20 minutes).

Texas is red-hot shooting from the field in the season’s first three games. The Longhorns are shooting roughly 54 percent from the field and 46 percent from deep. Texas also scored at least 80 points for the third straight game while holding the opponent under 65 in each outing.

This was a big day for Texas men’s hoops, who came away with a convincing win over Rice and also landed the No. 1 shooting guard recruit in the nation in the 2024 class, Dallas (TX) Link Academy five-star Tre Johnson.

Here are two studs and one dud from the Longhorns’ 16-point win over Rice at home on Nov. 15.

Stud: Brock Cunningham, F

Super senior forward Brock Cunningham stepped up for the Longhorns while playing serious minutes off the bench against Rice. He played 31 minutes off the bench, a career-high in a non-conference game for Cunningham.

Texas took full advantage of that spark Cunningham provided them on both ends of the floor off the bench. Texas’ limited bench production can’t be blamed on Cunningham in this game. He scored eight of Texas’ 19 bench points (falling short of Rice’s 24) on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from deep.

Most of Cunningham’s contributions off the bench didn’t involve him scoring the basketball. He led the team in bench rebounding, with six on the night (including three offensive boards). Cunningham also registered three assists, two blocks, and three steals.

Cunningham and sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell were easily Texas’ most disruptive defenders, as they combined for four blocks and four steals.

It seemed like Cunningham was everywhere in this game. He did a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor, even distributing the basketball effectively to open teammates when his shot wasn’t there.

If this is the type of performance Texas will be getting from Cunningham once the bigger games on the schedule arrive this season, it’ll be a huge boost from the bench. Texas just needs someone else to step up for bench production since sophomore guard Chendall Weaver and junior power forward Ze’Rik Onyema only combined for nine points in 23 minutes on the floor.