Gonzaga vs Texas score, takeaway: No. 11 Longhorns walks away, hand No. 2 Zags worst loss since 2014

Gonzaga vs Texas score, takeaway: No. 11 Longhorns walks away, hand No. 2 Zags worst loss since 2014

Texas christened its brand new Moody Center arena on Wednesday night with a memorable victory in its first major Test against a ranked opponent since the venue opened earlier this year. Behind a career night from Tyrese Hunter, who finished with 26 points, the Longhorns beat No. 2 Gonzaga in a 93-74 beatdown, showcasing their strengths as one of the best – and most entertaining – college basketball teams.

Gonzaga trailed early and even led for a stretch in the first half, but was late fast for the Zags as Longhorns fans lit up the arena to help their team take a 10-point lead at half-time. Texas never trailed from there and built their lead up to 23 in the second half before finishing with a 19-point margin of victory. The loss was Gonzaga’s most lopsided by total margin since a 23-point loss to Arizona in March 2014.

Everything seemed to be fine for Texas, and conversely, the wheels fell off the wagon (then the wagon sat on cinder blocks in the middle of the intersection) for Gonzaga. Texas rained 13 3s of 33 attempts, didn’t miss a free throw until late (it finished 12 of 16 from the line) and constantly pressured the Zags to make mistakes on the perimeter . That was the genesis of Gonzaga’s struggles: He committed 20 turnovers on the night — 11 of them in the first half — which Texas converted for 27 points. One turnover in particular was part of a frenetic Texas streak that nearly blew the lid off the Moody Center.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few said during preseason that he thought his team’s non-conference schedule was the most ambitious he could remember, and Wednesday was just one example of that challenge. . It came just five days after surviving a near-buzzer-beater on an aircraft carrier against Michigan State and precedes a major Nov. 20 matchup against No. 4 Kentucky.

With the win, Texas ties a program record for its top-ranked AP opponent defeated; his last victory against a No. 2 team in the AP Top 25 came against rival Oklahoma in 2009.

Here are some other key points of the game.

Texas is… back?

Stating Texas returning to football is a bit old and tired, but Texas basketball really could be back. Chris Beard didn’t have a terrific first season by his own standards; the team went 22-12 and had their ups and downs. In Year 2, however, he seems to have amassed a crew that fits in well and matches the style he wants to play. This team can play above the edge with their athleticism, harass teams on the perimeter with dogged defense, and have enough shots to spread and get some work done. I picked them to finish No. 2 in the Big 12, the highest prediction among our entire hoops team, and even that feels like it may have been an undersell. You don’t want to have too much of a knee-jerk reaction to a result, especially early in the season, but tonight was a display that changed expectations given how well Texas played against such a big opponent.

Gonzaga gets a rare humiliation

Gonzaga has lost five or fewer games in each of the last six seasons and has been mostly dominated by hilariously lopsided margins. In each of the past four seasons, he has led all college hoops in scoring margin. For the Zags, losing is a rarity – and doing it explosively is even rarer. Wednesday’s 19-point loss is their fifth-largest loss by margin since 2010, according to CBB Reference. Only four times in that span have they lost by a bigger margin.

Depth a question mark for Zags

When you lose a star like Chet Holmgren and a hard-handed goaltender like Andrew Nembhard like Gonzaga did in the offseason, you’re going to be in trouble. Period. It quickly escalated, however, for the Zags. They lack the Holmgren-provided rim protection around the paint and have been prone to turnover, committing around 17 per game. That ranks slightly better than 300 out of 363 Division I teams. Sophomore guard Nolan Hickman is the X-factor who will need to make progress this season for the Zags to hit their cap. They have a 1-2 killer with Drew Timme and Julian Strawther, who had 18 points and 13 points respectively, but a third has to appear as a reliable factor for Gonzaga to really flourish.

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