Longhorns notch first win in Big 12 play, break five-game losing streak

Christian Corona

First Half:

Thanks in large part to freshmen Cameron Ridley and Demarcus Holland, Texas took over this game in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Texas Tech held a one-point lead at the 11:30 mark, but Holland scored five of his nine first-half points during a 9-0 Longhorns run toward the end of the half. After committing a turnover on Texas’ last possession before halftime, he raced down to the other end of the floor and blocked a Red Raiders attempt at a buzzer-beater. Ridley scored six points in the opening half, along with nine rebounds and three blocks. Texas led 35-24 at the break.

Second Half:

The Longhorns didn’t dominate the second half like they did the first, but they didn’t blow a late second-half lead like they did against UCLA, West Virginia and Kansas. Texas held a double-digit lead for all but 21 seconds after halftime as Ioannis Papapetrou and Julien Lewis each scored 10 points in the second half. After the Red Raiders trimmed the Longhorns’ lead to eight points, Texas went on a 9-1 run to put the game away.

Stock Up:

Demarcus Holland – After Javan Felix picked up a couple of early fouls, Holland was forced to step up. He did just that, scoring a career-high 11 points after scoring only 10 combined points in his previous five games. Holland also notched three steals in 26 minutes, which tied a career high.

Stock Down:

Javan Felix – The freshman point guard was in foul trouble early and was held scoreless for the second time this year. The first time Felix was held scoreless was in a win over Coppin State, just his second career game. He had nine assists in that game but had only four Saturday, although he’s still averaging a Big 12-best 5.9 dimes per game this year. Felix has scored 25 points since dropping 26 points on Baylor during an overtime loss in Texas’ Big 12 opener earlier this month.

By the Numbers:

29: Number of days between Texas’ last two wins. The Longhorns beat Rice, 57-41, on Dec. 29 in their last game before Big 12 play, which kicked off a five-game losing streak they snapped in Saturday’s victory over the Red Raiders.

19: Number of turnovers Texas forced. The Longhorns turned those into 21 points, a much-needed boost to a struggling offense. Texas committed just 10 turnovers, well below its Big 12-worst average of 15.8 per game.

What’s Next:

Texas (9-10, 1-5) travels to Manhattan to face Kansas State (15-4, 4-2) on Wednesday. The Longhorns have not won at Bramlage Coliseum, nicknamed the “Octagon of Doom”, since 2008. The game will start at 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2.