AUSTIN (KXAN) — Fans at the Frank Erwin Center were able to get their first look at the fifth-ranked team in the country on Monday night, when the Longhorns hosted Texas Lutheran.
To no surprise, Texas handled TLU in a pretty big way, beating the Bulldogs 96-33. Although the score was not the thing that concerned head coach Chris Beard.
“It’s a game that wasn’t really about the scoreboard, from our objective,” Beard said. “It was more about us and can we set an identity?”
The defensive end of the floor is where Beard wants his team to establish an identity, and Texas got off to a good start in that respect.
The Longhorns forced 25 turnovers, scoring 37 points off those turnovers. They also added five blocks.
“Tonight, I thought we established our culture and we looked like a team who was trying to guard,” Beard said.
“We just wanted to come out and set the tone for the rest of the season,” forward Timmy Allen added. “We know we’re going to have to be one of the top five defenses in the country if we’re going to chase championships like we want to, so that was the main goal.”
Tre Mitchell, a transfer from UMass, came off the bench and immediately lit up the scoreboard. Utilizing both post moves and perimeter skills, Mitchell led Texas in scoring with 16 points, and committed no turnovers in 15 minutes of action.
“I just had a mindset to try to impact every possession, in some form, regardless of whatever end of the floor it was on,” Mitchell said. “And I think I just went out there and played, and I think that’s what works best for me, I just go play.”
No. 5 Texas will have a week before they make their official 2021-2022 debut against Houston Baptist at the Erwin Center. The big test follows when they go on the road to play No. 2 Gonzaga in the second game of the season on Nov. 13.