No. 4 Texas will be flying high when it travels south to the border Monday to face Northern Arizona in the Leon Black Classic in Edinburg, Texas.
The game is a neutral-site meeting on the campus of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and is the Longhorns’ first-ever trip to the region for a game. The Longhorns and Northern Arizona have never played each other.
Texas (3-0) heads into the game after one of its most impressive performances in years, a 93-74 home victory over then-No. 2 Gonzaga on Wednesday. The win tied a program record for the highest-ranked AP opponent defeated and marked the fourth time in school history that the Longhorns have beaten a No. 2 team in the Associated Press poll.
“We said before the game that it would take our best 40 minutes to this point in our early season to play and beat Gonzaga at home — that’s what we did,” Texas coach Chris Beard said. “That was our best 40. I don’t think it’s anywhere near the 40 that we can play as the year goes on.”
Tyrese Hunter, a transfer from Iowa State, racked up a career-best 26 points to lead Texas, hitting 9 of his 14 shots from the floor, including a 5-of-8 effort from 3-point range. Marcus Carr added 16, Dylan Disu tallied 12 points and Sir’Jabari Rice hit for 11 in the win.
Texas shot 51.5 percent from the floor, had 17 assists against just 10 turnovers and forced 20 Gonzaga turnovers that led to a 27-7 margin in points off miscues.
“We pride ourselves on being a team that is going to play defense and really lock people down night in and night out,” Carr said. “That ball pressure starts with us guards. We try to bring that pressure every night.”
Northern Arizona (2-3) travels to Texas after a 63-54 home win over UC-Santa Barbara on Friday. The Lumberjacks have won two straight after starting the season with losses on the road to Michigan State, Arizona State and Utah Valley.
Jalen Cone led Northern Arizona with 17 points while Carson Towt and Liam Lloyd added 10 each in the win over UCSB, last year’s Big West Conference champs. The Lumberjacks took control midway through the second half and won by holding UCSB to 31.9 percent shooting from the floor.
“The credit goes to all our guys and our preparation for this game,” Northern Arizona coach Shane Burcar said. “Our coaching staff has also been awesome in every aspect. We’ve been fighting some sickness, but we didn’t make any excuses for that.
“Big picture, that’s why we play teams like Michigan State, Arizona State and a top-10 team in Texas on Monday. Our guys showed poise and toughness, and we beat a really good basketball team (on Friday).”
After playing Texas on Monday, the Lumberjacks will stay in Edinburg to battle Texas-Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday.
–Field Level Media