Texas’ Matt Coleman III hit for 13 points and distributed seven assists and freshman Jaxson Hayes added 11 points on 5 of 9 shooting in his first collegiate game as the host Longhorns rolled to a 71-59 win over Eastern Illinois on Monday in Austin, Texas, in the season opener for both teams.
The Longhorns played without standout guard Kerwin Roach II, who was suspended over the summer for a violation of team rules that was never specified publicly.
Texas, which was picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 preseason poll, was too deep and too strong for the Panthers, though it took almost the whole first half for the Longhorns to exert their dominance.
Jase Febres, Elijah Mitrou-Long and Dylan Osetkowski added nine points each for the Longhorns, who outshot Eastern Illinois 50 percent to 35.7 percent and had 20 assists to just five for the Panthers.
Rade Kukobat scored 12 points and Mack Smith added 11 to lead Eastern Illinois. The Panthers, who played without leading scorer and point guard Terrell Lewis (foot injury), had 19 turnovers.
Texas started slowly, trailing 20-16 with 6:57 to play in the first half before catching fire. The Longhorns ended the half with a 15-5 run keyed by seven points by Mitrou-Long, a layup by Coleman and a 3-pointer by Febres to take a 38-28 lead into intermission.
The first half featured nine ties and 12 lead changes before Texas took charge.
Mitrou-Long led all scorers in the first half with nine points, while JaQualis Matlock paced the Panthers with eight points.
The Longhorns continued their run in the second half, employing a stifling press and a constantly attacking offensive style to build their lead to 23 points, at 62-39, on a Febres 3-pointer with 8:33 to play.
Texas guard Andrew Jones made his first court appearance since last December after battling leukemia. He scored one point, had one rebound, one steal and one assist in nine minutes.
The Longhorns return to action on Friday when they battle Arkansas at Fort Bliss in El Paso in the Armed Forces Classic. Eastern Illinois heads home to face Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Saturday.
—Field Level Media