That Ridley was so effective wasn't in itself a huge surprise; he went for 12 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in a tougher game against BYU the previous night. But Ridley showed serious flashes of offensive improvement, making strong post moves, displaying touch around the basket and even making 7-of-8 from the free throw line for the night. That's a huge difference for a player who entered the game 11-of-26 from the free throw line this season, and who shot 33.3 percent on his free throws a year ago.
Texas led by two points at 20-18 after DePaul's Billy Garrett knocked down a jumper with 8:25 left in the first half. But DePaul's next points didn't come until there were under two minutes left, with the Longhorns going on a 15-0 run over that time period to take a 17-point advantage. The Longhorns took a 16-point lead, at 39-23, into the halftime locker room and led by double-digits the whole rest of the way. Texas's biggest second-half lead was 20, with DePaul spending the game's final 19 minutes with at least a 15-point deficit.
It was far-and-away the best effort of the season for the Longhorns (5-1), who were predicted to defeat DePaul by two points, per KenPom. The Blue Demons (3-3) entered the contest ranked in KenPom's top 100 teams in the country, just one of two such teams so far on the Texas schedule. Both came in the CBE, with the Longhorns dropping a close game to BYU in the semifinals before routing the Blue Demons.
Texas was helped by an astoundingly good free throw performance, with the Longhorns making their first 13 shots from the charity stripe and finishing 23-of-28 (82.1 percent) from the line. The 'Horns also dominated the glass, doubling up DePaul with 40 rebounds to the Blue Demons' 20. That was especially impressive on the offensive glass, with Texas grabbing 18 offensive boards to DePaul's 10 defensive rebounds.
Texas shot 50 percent from the field and had five players score 10 points or more, sticking to its by-committee scoring approach. Ridley led all game scorers with his 19, shooting 6-of-8 from the field, while Isaiah Taylor scored 14. Demarcus Holland, Jonathan Holmes and Kendal Yancy all had 10 points apiece.
Texas played zone for much of the game, and while the typically block-happy Longhorns only swatted three shots on the night, DePaul shot 38.3 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers.
Texas returns home on Friday for a tune-up game against UT Arlington (2-5) before hosting Vanderbilt on Monday as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Commodores are 4-2, with close losses at Butler and to Providence on a neutral court.