AUSTIN, Tx. -- After a first-half blitz by Texas, Northwestern State settled down in the second half to play more competitively Friday in the season-opener.
The Demons lost the second half by 11 points after Texas sprinted to a 35-point halftime advantage in NSU’s 105-59 loss. The 46-point loss is the program’s largest since 2008-09 when the Demons fell by 49 at Oklahoma State.
Freshman point guard Czar Perry scored a game-high 15 points in his first collegiate contest, adding five rebounds for the Demons (0-1).
“It was a good experience, especially this type of competition,” Perry said. “We played better in the second half.
“We ran the clock down, and we were able to get better shots because we spread the floor.”
Sophomore guard Jacob Guest also had a career night, scoring 11 points after scoring just 12 all of last season.
Guest scored eight first-half points and made 3-of-4 from 3-point range, including a spinning, fading 3-pointer in the corner.
“I just tried to stay within myself, play my game and do what I could for my team,” said Guest, whose previous career high was seven points against Louisiana College. “We played a lot better in the second half, and we’ll learn from this game and bounce back.”
NSU settled in in the second half, hanging with Texas for the half’s first 11 minutes. Texas outscored NSU 23-21 as the Demons slightly slowed the pace and created better scoring opportunities.
The Demons went on a 6-0 run with its freshmen with a left-handed scoop by Darian Dixon, a putback dunk by Caleb Starks and a fastbreak layup by Larry Owens, cutting Texas’s lead to 74-39 at 14:16 remaining.
Dixon snatched a team-high seven rebounds to go with four points, and Owens added seven points and two rebounds.
Senior guard Iziahiah Sweeney overcame four first-half turnovers to score 10 points.
By the time Northwestern State found its offensive rhythm in the first half, Texas’ chaotic pace and length had already built an insurmountable lead.
The Longhorns built in a double digit lead in the game’s first five minutes and never relinquished that margin.
“I’m disappointed that our kids came out with a deer-in-the-headlights look,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy. “It was an ol’ country butt-whoopin,’ but Texas is so long and athletic – one of top five in length and athleticism that I’ve faced in my 19 years at NSU.
“We have eight newcomers and six freshmen, and they looked like it tonight. We didn’t compete early, but we did play better in the second half. Czar Perry loosened up, and C.J. Jones played pretty good as well. Jacob Guest is a catch-and-shoot guy, and he made some shots and had a putback bucket that was one of our first field goals.”
Texas scored the first seven points and sprinted to a 14-2 lead behind a pair of 3-pointers from Andrew Jones, who scored all 12 of his 14 points in the first half.
A pair of Owens free throws and five Guest points allowed NSU to keep pace with Texas at 19-9, but the Longhorns went on a 16-4 run to stretch its lead to 35-13.
Freshman Mohamed Bamba (No. 2 recruit nationally) led seven Longhorns in double digits with 15 points, adding eight rebounds.
Dylan Osetkowski (Tulane transfer) contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Texas forced 19 turnovers and outscored NSU 28-0 on points off turnovers.
The Demons return Sunday for its home opener against Division III LeTourneau in Prather Coliseum at 4 p.m. The game is part of a doubleheader with the Lady Demons, who also play LeTourneau (2 p.m.).