Texas escapes upset, edges out Incarnate Word in opener

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

Texas' prized recruiting class didn't disappoint in its collegiate debut Friday.

The Longhorn freshmen accounted for 38 of the team's points, helping Texas capture a 78-73 season-opening win over Incarnate Word.

Freshman center Jarrett Allen notched a double-double in his debut. The big man scored 16 points, and pulled down 12 boards. Freshman guards Jacob Young and Andrew Jones combined for 20 points.

And while freshman forward James Banks only scored two points, his contributions could be felt elsewhere. Banks pulled down nine rebounds, swatted five shots and energized his team with a rim-shattering dunk in the first half. Banks' five blocks marked a school record for a freshman in his debut.

"Part of my role is being a defender — protecting the rim and helping my guys when they get beat," Banks said. "So you know, if it happens it happens, if it doesn't it doesn't, I'm just going to try my hardest to do [my role]."

But Incarnate Word almost spoiled the impressive display from Texas’ freshman. The Longhorns led by 13 at halftime and looked to be in control. However, Incarnate Word would rally, chipping away at Texas' lead throughout the second half.

And with two minutes remaining, Cardinals guard Sam Burmeister hit a three to put his team up by one.

With things hanging in the balance, senior guard Kendal Yancy scored four straight points to put Texas up 70-67, a lead it wouldn't relinquish.

Yancy, who struggled with shooting and turnovers throughout the game, said his confidence didn't falter in crunch time.

"Coach always says you have to focus on the next play, and that's what I tried to do," Yancy said. "And in that situation, I knew I had to shoot it."

Incarnate Word was able to stay in the game thanks to a poor Texas' shooting display in the second half. After shooting over 50 percent in the first half, the Longhorns shot only 33 percent in the second.

Head coach Shaka Smart said Incarnate Word's second-half zone defense gave Texas’ offense fits.

"I thought our guys got a little bit tentative," Smart said. "We've played some zone in practice, but to be honest, we don't really have a 3–2 zone that we play against, so we've only seen [zone] the last couple days [in practice]."

Still, Smart said the tight game to start the season should be beneficial for his young players as they adjust to the college game.

"You want some games like this to learn from," Smart said. "There's a humbling side to this, which is good, which is there are so many things we can get better at and improve on."

Texas looks pick up another win on Monday against Louisiana Monroe at 7 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center.