The Longhorns beat Vanderbilt 72-58 as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday. Here are five thoughts from the victory:
Defense shines in first half
The Longhorns weren’t spectacular offensively, but they didn’t need to be with how well they played on defense in the first 20 minutes. Texas held Vanderbilt to 28.6 percent shooting in the first half of Saturday’s contest, helping it go into halftime up 31-16. But the Commodores got hot in the second half, shooting 53.1 percent in the final period. Still, Texas’ defensive performance in the second half helped build a lead it wouldn’t give up.
Senior center Prince Ibeh had his best performance of his career against TCU on Tuesday with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Ibeh delivered an encore Saturday with 13 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, charging up the crowd with every made free throw and dunk. Ibeh initially struggled after replacing senior center Cameron Ridley in the starting lineup, but has found his stride.
Two freshmen play well
The freshman guard duo of Eric Davis, Jr. and Kerwin Roach, Jr. that lifted the Longhorns on Saturday. Roach had 22 points against TCU on Tuesday and continued his good week with 15 points, 11 rebounds and four steals against Vanderbilt. Davis, meanwhile, added 13 points thanks to two 3-pointers and five free throws.
Texas struggles from three
The Longhorns have relied on the 3-point shot all season, but it left them on Saturday. Texas only made four 3-pointers and shot 25 percent from downtown. But the Longhorns compensated for that with defense and only having six turnovers on the offensive end while knocking down 20-of-26 free throws. The Longhorns also outrebounded the Commodores 37-29, with 15 coming on the offensive glass.
Longhorns continue home winning streak
The win moves Texas to 11-1 at the Frank Erwin Center, with the only loss coming to UConn on Dec. 29. Texas lost that game 71-66 and it was their first contest without Ridley. The Longhorns’ excellent play at home bodes well for the rest of the season. Texas still has to play Kansas, West Virginia, Baylor and Oklahoma at home this season, all of whom are ranked.