Dylan Osetkowski scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Texas romped over Northwestern State 105-59 Friday night in the season-opener for both teams.
Texas dunked, trapped and fired away on 3-pointers from the opening tip in an effort far different from last season when the Longhorns went 11-22 and finished last in the Big 12. The Longhorns had seven players score in double figures, and scored 100 points for just the second time in coach Shaka Smart's three seasons.
Mo Bamba, who most regard as bound for the NBA after his freshman season, finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Osetkowski was playing in his first game with Texas after transferring from Tulane and sitting out last season.
The rout was on early. Andrew Jones scored eight of Texas' first 12 points and the Longhorns led by double digits barely four minutes in. A 23-3 run sparked by a rash of turnovers off a full-court press put Texas up 50-21. Texas led 62-27 at halftime. The Longhorns had seven games last season when they failed to score 60.
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"We worked hard for this all summer long, preseason. This is what we are about, the new culture of Texas," Jones said.
Czar Perry led Northwestern State with 15 points.
Northwestern State: The Demons were overwhelmed. They won the opening tip but little else went right. The Demons missed seven of their first eight shots, left 3-point shooters open and wilted under the press. After last season, Texas needs some confidence-building early wins and Northwestern State offered little resistance.
"I'm disappointed in my kids because I honestly didn't think we'd come in here and be deer in the headlights," Northwestern State coach Mike McConathy said. "It proved to be way, way too much to be able to stay in the game from the get-go.
Texas: The Longhorns need big things from their two freshmen play makers, Bamba and Matt Coleman, and both delivered early. Bamba's first college points came on a put-back dunk for Texas' first basket. Coleman had assists on two of Texas' first three scores, a dunk and a 3-pointer by Jones. Texas sorely lacked a point guard who could find the open shooter late in the shot clock last season. Coleman could be a difference maker there and finished with seven assists in his debut.
"Our message is we have something to prove," Bamba said. "When you can start off with a dunk it pumps everyone up."
Smart's teams at Virginia Commonwealth were known for the defensive pressure and it came with the codename "Havoc." The Longhorns certainly didn't have it last season but showed signs of some defensive tenacity that created turnovers and fast breaks against the Demons. Texas forced 23 turnovers outscored the Demons off turnovers 28-0.
"The more we can pressure teams, we can get in our element of getting up and down, playing fast," Jones said.
FLIGHT OF THE UNICORN
Osetkowski displayed a wide range of skills, from tough rebounding to a skillful step-back jumper. Smart calls him the team's best facilitator on offense and the player who has the most freedom to be creative with the ball or away from it.
"Coach Smart always calls me a unicorn, a man of many talents," Osetkowski said. "I'm just trying to bring a level of hustle, spirit, rebounding."
Northwestern State hosts Letourneau on Sunday.
Texas hosts New Hampshire next Tuesday.