Posted November 27th, 2008 by Mike
Filed under: Basketball

The Texas Longhorn basketball team had a good early season tournament showing going 2-1 in three days taking third place in the Maui Invitational. Add in the fact that it was a free trip to Hawaii and I’m sure Rick Barnes and company would admit it was a great trip.

On Monday the Longhorns physically dominated St. Joseph’s in a way the football fans at Texas would be proud of. From the opening tip Texas showed that this year their emphasis is going to be on the defensive end. With [tag]Damion James[/tag] playing at the “3” position this year Texas finally has the length to compete with the most athletic teams in the nation. St. Joseph’s is not one of the most athletic teams in the nation, so the length and athletic ability of the Longhorn defenders overwhelmed them for much of the game. The Longhorn defense held them to under 30% shooting from the floor including 19% from the three point line on their way to a 68-50 win.

Tuesday Texas took on [tag]Notre Dame[/tag] in an instant classic. The score went back and forth with the game coming down to the last shot. Even though [tag]AJ Abrams[/tag] missed the 50 footer at the buzzer, the Longhorns continued to show the skills that will carry them on the season. They out rebounded the Irish and dominated in the paint. For the first time in the season however, the Longhorns showed a few cracks in their armor. Texas struggled to get easy buckets and Damion James showed that he is not quite there as a perimeter player. The Longhorns got down but showed resiliency to get the game back to a one point margin. Notre Dame played about as well as they could on the game as they made contested jumper after contested jumper. Abrams and James played poorly as they both forced too many jumpers after only one or sometimes no passes on the possession. Even with that the Longhorns came close to beating a top 10 team that was clicking on all cylinders which has to be a good sign moving forward.

Wednesday the Longhorns took on the Oregon Ducks in the third place game. Both teams were playing their third game in three days and each team showed tired legs. The Longhorns abandoned the three point shot for most of the game concentrating on getting the ball into the paint. The formula worked as the defensive effort allowed the Longhorns to cruise to a 70-57 game that stayed closer on the scoreboard than it appeared to be on the court. Oregon is a young team and it was clear they were overwhelmed by the defensive pressure and intensity the Longhorns brought to the game.


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