Plenty of Room for Improvement for Texas Basketball in Win vs Incarnate Word

Shaka Smart opened his second season with Texas basketball on Friday night. The No. 21 Longhorns came away with a win over Incarnate Word, 78-73, avoiding a potentially disastrous season opener. Moving forward, this young Texas team must make major improvements.

Despite losing their entire starting lineup from last season, the expectations are high for this Texas team. Smart has assembled one of the top recruiting classes in the Big 12 and will be leaning heavily on his young stars this season. In their first action of 2016-17, their youth showed.

Freshman Jarrett Allen lived up to the hype. He finished the game with 16 points and 12 rebounds, posting a double-double in his Texas debut. However, it was senior guard Kendal Yancy who led the Horns with 19 points, including the deciding points down the stretch. he hit a pair of late free throws to give the Horns the lead late and then added a tough layup to give Texas a 70-67 lead that held up.

This game was all about Texas overcoming their own mistakes. The Horns fell behind early thanks to 11 early turnovers but shot 57 percent from the field to lead 44-31 at half. But the Cardinals did not go away and took the lead with 2:30 to play on a Sam Burmeister 3-pointer. Incarnate Word outscored Texas in the second half 42-34 as the Horns failed to protect a double-digit lead.

The good news is that Texas won and they can learn from this. They will also get deeper moving forward after dressing only 10 players for this game. Kerwin Roach Jr. and Tevin Mack served a suspension for this game for a rules violation during the offseason. Both are expected to play major roles this season, with Roach slated to be the starting point guard.

Moving forward, Texas has to overcome their inexperience and close games out. They have a soft non-conference schedule ahead of what should be a rugged Big 12 slate and need to use these games to shape up. Growing pains were certainly expected, of course, but that can’t be an excuse for losing games they should win.

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