No. 22 Texas 70, North Florida 48
Gary Johnson says he’s finding his comfort zone in the Texas
offense. The Longhorns need him to stay there because the season is
about to get much tougher.
The senior forward scored 17 points and tied his career-high
with 12 rebounds, helping the 22nd-ranked Longhorns coast past
North Florida 70-48 on Tuesday night.
Freshman guard Cory Johnson added 18 points as those two carried
the Longhorns through an otherwise sluggish effort.
”I guess I’m just finding a niche,” Johnson said, noting he’s
still getting used to playing with Joseph and freshman post player
Tristan Thompson in the lineup. ”I think we still have a long way
to go chemistry-wise.”
Johnson also had to find his rhythm out on the wing when coach
Rick Barnes put him farther out from the basket than he’s used
”He does a pretty good job, he just needs some time out
there,” Barnes said. ”Over the last couple of games he’s played
Joseph kept up his torrid shooting for the Longhorns (8-2) as
well, hitting 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Joseph has been Texas’
best scorer of late, leading the Longhorns in points four of the
last five games.
But the Longhorns’ run of easy games against overmatched
opponents is finished.
Texas has won 25 straight at home against non-conference
opponents and now goes on the road to face North Carolina in
Greensboro on Saturday and No. 14 Michigan State on Dec. 22. Coppin
State, Arkansas and No. 4 Connecticut at home round out the
schedule before the start of Big 12 play on Jan. 11.
”I don’t know if the freshmen know what they are getting into
playing against opponents like that,” Johnson said. ”I think we
have what it takes to come together as a team and overcome
Joseph scored 12 points and Johnson had 10 in the first half
against North Florida as Texas built a 35-16 lead. Seven turnovers
and 33 percent shooting kept the Longhorns from finding much
offensive continuity, but the Longhorns outrebounded North Florida
30-16 in the half.
Johnson had eight rebounds in the half and Joseph’s third
3-pointer put Texas up by 19 points.
In the second, Johnson kept finding the mid-range jumper he has
used so effectively in recent games. He even tried – but missed –
two 3-pointers in the game. Thompson slammed an alley-oop dunk on a
nifty pass from J’Covan Brown and Texas built the lead to
Then the Longhorns went into a deep slump, going scoreless over
the next six minutes until Jordan Hamilton got a long 3-pointer to
fall after taking three bounces off the rim. Johnson then drove the
baseline and finished a scooping reverse layup and the 3-point play
made it 51-25.
Texas kept up the pressure defensively during the scoring
drought, allowing North Florida just three field goals over the
first 10 minutes of the second half.
”We were lazy offensively. I can’t tell you how many chippies
we missed around the rim,” Barnes said.
Brian Holmes and Jerron Granberry each scored 10 points for
North Florida (4-6).
Some of Texas’ previous opponents had tried to mix up their zone
and man-to-man defenses in hopes of confusing the Longhorns or
catching them on a bad shooting night.
If the Ospeys did, it was by mistake, North Florida coach
Matthew Driscoll said.
”Sometimes it looked like we did because guys were in the wrong
place,” he said.