Austin, Texas – Tyrese Hunter seemed to go farther and farther away each time he let another 3-pointer fly.
No distance seemed beyond his reach.
Hunter scored 26 points and led a 3-point shooter that led No. 11 Texas to a dominant 93-74 win over No. 2 Gonzaga on Wednesday night.
Hunter, last season’s Big 12 freshman of the year at Iowa State, was 9-of-14 shooting and made five of Texas’ 13 3-pointers. He made a three from range in the opening minutes of the second half as the Longhorns took control.
“Big thanks to my teammates for finding me. I don’t think I stopped any of them from dribbling,” Hunter said.
Gonzaga couldn’t push Hunter far enough away from the basket.
AUSTIN, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 16: Texas Longhorns’ Tyrese Hunter #4 and Christian Bishop #32 defend Gonzaga Bulldogs’ Rasir Bolton #45 and Drew Timme #2 in the game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Texas Longhorns at the Moody Center no
“They hit a lot of deep, deep 3s,” said Bulldogs coach Mark Few. “We knew he could shoot her, but not from 30 feet or anything. He felt it.”
Texas was 3 of 22 from afar in their previous game against Houston Christian.
Defensively, Texas (3-0) crippled All-American forward Drew Timme for long stretches and largely rendered him ineffective while the game was still close. Two of his first four shots were airballs versus changing doubles defense.
Marcus Carr added 16 points for Texas. Timme led Gonzaga (2-1) by 18 points.
Texas held Gonzaga to a lone goal in the final five minutes of the first half, extending a tight game to a 10-point halftime lead after defensive specialist Brock Cunningham got a rare shot on goal. He made a 3-pointer and a reverse layup before dumping a pass away from Timme for his own layup that made it 47-37.
Texas broke it up with a barrage of 3-pointers to start the second half. Hunter struck first, then Dylan Disu was left open for another. Hunter then made two more before converting a three-point play to a steal and layup that took Texas’ lead to 20.
“I’m pretty sure a lot of people watched the game, saw who we are and what we’re about,” Hunter said.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs shot pretty well (49% overall with nine 3-pointers) but have a turnover problem. They finished the game with 20 turnovers, a game after giving away the ball 18 times in a narrow win over Michigan State on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. The Longhorns turned those turnovers into 27 points. Point guard Nolan Hickman had four turnovers and two assists.
“Part of that was us, but a lot of that was her pressure,” Few said. “We can’t function if we turn the ball around like that.”
Texas: Disu was a big part of Texas’ ability to pin Timme from the jump. At 6ft 9 he is the tallest longhorn and a nagging leg injury kept him off the court for much of last season. His physical play around the rim will be key for a team lacking in overall size. He scored 12 points and hit two 3-pointers with his smooth shot, giving the Longhorns a critical figure at either end of the court.
“He had a great balance against a great player in Timme,” said Texas coach Chris Beard.
Texas won’t play again until next week’s rankings are released and the Longhorns can expect a big jump.
FAST BREAK POINTS
All of that turnover has kept the Longhorns running a lot. Texas beat their first three opponents at the fast break 55-3.
Gonzaga continues his tough preseason schedule with a home game against No. 4 Kentucky on Sunday.
Texas plays northern Arizona on November 21 in Edinburgh, Texas.