AUSTIN, Texas—Everything about the Texas offense figures to run through J'Covan Brown this season. The Longhorns saw no reason why it shouldn't be that way in the season opener.
The junior guard tied his career high with 28 points and set a career high with eight assists Sunday night in leading Texas to an 82-46 win over Boston University in the first round of the TicketCity Legends Classic.
The Longhorns return no starters from last season's NCAA tournament team but dominated the experienced Terriers behind Brown's fluid performance in which he directed the Longhorns offense with his shooting, passing and creativity.
"When shots are going in, I just felt comfortable," Brown said. "Some nights, I might have a good night. But everybody has to do the same job I am."
Julien Lewis scored 18 points and made four 3-pointers, with several of his baskets coming off assists from Brown. Texas made 11 3-pointers, forced 24 Boston turnovers and held the Terriers to 29 percent shooting.
Darryl Partin scored 14 points to lead Boston, which fell to 0-2 under first-year coach Joe Jones.
Texas lost three players from last season to the NBA draft, and of the Longhorns' nine scholarship players this season, six are freshmen.
That puts a lot of pressure on Brown, an enigmatic scorer who proved in his first two seasons he can pour in points in bunches, but will now be counted on to be the team leader.
But that won't give license to freelance his way to the point of turning Texas into a one-man show. There were times last season that such play would get him taken out of a game.
"If he doesn't do what I want, I think he still knows he's coming out," Texas coach Rick Barnes said.
Brown did everything right against the Terriers, committing just one turnover.
Boston University returns four starters from last season's America East Conference championship and NCAA tournament team, but is off to a rough start under Jones, a former Boston College assistant. The Terriers lost their season opener to Northeastern in overtime.
"We had a hard time guarding (Brown)," Jones said. "He was able to shoot over our guards. He made us pay."
With only one player taller than 6-foot-7, the Longhorns' lack of size could prove a hardship when they get to their Big 12 schedule. Boston dominated the first-half rebounding, but 13 turnovers and 25 percent shooting in the half negated that advantage.
"Last year we were bigger, stronger. We have to use our speed to get us over the hump," Brown said. "We've got to come together and rebound as a unit."
Brown had 14 points in the first half and started picking his shots with ease from the 3-point line and on drives to the basket. After his second 3-pointer, Brown stumbled and appeared to twist his ankle, but shook it off and didn't have to go to the bench. His 15-foot jumper with 1 minute left in the half put Texas ahead 31-21.
Brown opened the second half with another driving basket before Lewis made a 3-pointer from the right corner for a 15-point Texas lead. Brown then threaded a pass to Lewis underneath the basket for an easy layup.
That's when Brown started playing the showman. After his third 3-pointer, Brown turned to the crowd with his right hand shaped like a gun and holstered it at his right hip with a wink.
He left with more than 7 minutes to play and was 10 of 19 shooting from the floor.
Boston never managed to put together any kind of run to close the gap, which only got wider as Texas poured it on late. Poor shooting and turnovers continued to plague the Terriers in the second half and Boston was just 4 of 25 shooting from 3-point range.
"Their freshmen are as good as advertised," Jones said. "And (Brown) was lights out when he got it going."