After losing all five starters from last year, Texas opened the 2011-12 season
with true freshmen G Myck Kabongo, G Julien Lewis and F Jonathan Holmes along
with junior G J'Covan Brown and Senior F/C Alexis Wangmene for the tip vs. Boston University. The three true freshmen in the starting line-up tied
the school record for most freshmen starters in a season opener, but it didn't slow the Horns in an 82-46 win.
“I was so excited I couldn’t sleep,” said freshman point guard Myck Kabongo. “It feels good to know we can win at this level."
Texas won its 10th consecutive season opener and improved to 92-9 (.911) at the Erwin Center in the last six seasons and 182-24(.883) at the Erwin Center under Rick Barnes.
Texas shot a combined 31-67 (46%) from the field and was 9-12 (75%) from behind the arc. J’Covan Brown led all scorers with 28 points and also had a game-high eight assists. Myck Kabongo was right behind Brown in the assist category with seven as the two of them took over the game by midway through the second half. Kabongo’s seven assists marked the most by a freshman in a season opener since D.J. Augustin in 2006, who also had seven.
Brown wasn’t the only big scorer, though. Julien Lewis had 18 points on 7-12 shooting, including 4-7 from three-point range. His point total was the most for a freshman in a season opener since Kevin Durant recorded 20 points in 2006. All told, UT's six true freshman accounted for 44 of the Horns' 82 points (along with Lewis' 18, Jonathan Holmes had 7, Kabongo and Sheldon McClellan 6 each, Jaylen Bond 4 and Sterling Gibbs 3).
Alexis Wangmene led the team with seven rebounds as he was the only solid contributor on the boards. Boston U out-rebounded the Horns 43-35. Wangmene also set a career-high with four blocks and logged a career-best 27 minutes. Clint Chapman added four rebounds in 19 minutes.
Texas took over the game with fast breaks, finishing with 13 and had 25 points scored off of turnovers.
First Half Summary:
Brown seemed to do it all in a turnover-filled first half, leading the team in points (16), rebounds (3) and assists (3). Texas started the game looking a little rusty. The Horns shot a combined 11-29 (38%) from the field and had seven turnovers.
Texas and Boston University battled it out up until the 5:41 mark in the 1st half when J’Covan Brown made a jumper to make it 21-18, which started Texas rolling. In a short two-minute span, Brown added to the lead with three baskets and the rout was on.
Texas held a 26-21 first half lead before running off 12 unanswered points in a four-and-a-half minute span from late in the first half to early in the second half.
Second Half Summary:
Texas came out hot in 2nd half and opened on a 7-0 run that made it 38-21.
Kabongo and Brown started the 2nd half and quickly got the rest of the team in the game with great passing. The two combined for nine assists in the 2nd half, which seemed to help the rest of the team get comfortable and get open shots.
Boston took a timeout with 12:01 left in game after Texas made it 57-29. At the time, Brown was in cruise control with 28 points and his scoring would end there.
Then it was Julien Lewis’ turn. He began to heat it up from the floor, shooting six for nine from the field with three three-pointers in the 2nd half. On a Lewis put back with 5:46 to go, the Longhorns went up 73-41.
The rest was history as Jaylen Bond sent the crowd into a roar with a massive dunk.
Texas was outrebounded 24-15 in the first half but worked hard on the boards in the 2nd half with 20 rebounds to Boston’s 19 after the break.
“Last year we were bigger and stronger, but this year we will are hyper," said junior guard J’Covan Brown. "We will use our speed to get us over the hump and on the defensive end we will need to box out.”
Texas returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Rhode Island. Tip-off is set for a 3 p.m. with an ESPN telecast.
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