Something has to give when No. 7 Texas squares off against No. 23 Seton Hall on Thursday in Newark, N.J., in a matchup of two powerhouses as part of the Big East-Big 12 Battle.
The two teams have been consistent and impressive over the first month of the season and look to use Thursday’s dustup as a springboard into conference play. The game will also serve as an examination of just how well the two teams have jelled with their new rosters.
Texas (6-1) travels to New Jersey after an 88-58 blowout win at home Friday over Texas-Rio Grande Valley. Christian Bishop scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Longhorns’ balanced attack, as Tre Mitchell and Timmy Allen each added 13 points and Marcus Carr had 11 for Texas.
Texas outscored the Vaqueros 42-17 in the second half, riding a dominating early surge that coach Chris Beard demanded after his team was up by just five points at halftime.
“I did say something to the team at halftime — definitely,” Beard said. “To me, we just continue to be who we are right now. We’re just a work in progress. You know, until we get to where we can play 40 minutes, we’re not going to have the outcome that we all want to have in the games that are coming up.”
Texas’ lone loss this season is to then-top-ranked Gonzaga on the road. Since then it has reeled off five straight wins against teams it was expected to handle and did do by an average of more than 23 points.
The Pirates (7-1) return to Newark after a dominating 113-67 win on campus Saturday over Division II Nyack College. Jamir Harris led all scorers with 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. Tyrese Samuel added 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Tray Jackson racked up 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor.
All three of those players came off the bench in the win.
“I don’t think that’s been done before, three guys scoring 20 points off the bench,” the Pirates’ Jared Rhoden said. “That’s quite impressive.”
Seton Hall also got 16 points from Rhoden and 12 from Myles Cale in the victory, in which it shot 63.3 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc, while holding Nyack College to 36.5 percent overall.
Texas will pose a completely different test for the Pirates. “It’s a monumental challenge,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said.
Cale returned from a groin injury on Saturday after missing three games. He called the meeting with the Longhorns “a great opportunity.”
“It’s probably (going to be) a lot of people watching that (Texas) game — nationally televised, two ranked teams going against each other — so it’s going to be a lot of people watching,” Cale explained. “Everybody’s going to be on 10 trying to do what they have to do for their team to win.”
Seton Hall has won four straight games remains a perfect 5-0 as a home team this season, with four of those wins in Newark. The Pirates have played a tougher schedule than Texas, earning a 67-65 win at then-No. 4 Michigan on Nov. 16, while their lone defeat was 79-76 to now-No. 21 Ohio State in tournament play in Florida.
–Field Level Media