Offense thrives as No. 9 Texas surges past Lipscomb

Evan Berkowitz

Texas put their offensive woes in the rearview mirror as they pummeled Lipscomb 106-61 Tuesday night at the Erwin Center.

“The fact is we moved the ball,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “That’s what we haven’t been doing. Ball movement is hard to defend if you can throw the hard, crisp passes.”

After a lousy offensive performance by Texas Saturday against Texas State, the Longhorns came back with, arguably, their best. With sophomore guard Demarcus Holland running the point, the offense was smooth, crisp, quick and shooting the open shots with confidence—something that hasn’t been done since Isaiah Taylor went down a few weeks ago.

They recorded season highs in points, three point field goal percentage (53%) and assists (24), all while committing a season-low nine turnovers.

“[Coach Barnes] emphasized us not playing scared,” Holland said. “He emphasized that we need to trust the offense, trust the coach and just go out there and try. We don’t like to be scared. This program is built on toughness.”

Standout freshman Myles Turner led the way with a career-high 26 points to go along with nine boards and six blocks.  In the first half alone, Turner was on pace for a triple-double with 19 points, seven rebounds and five blocks before he rested most of the second half as Texas opened up a large lead.

It wasn’t just Turner, though, as the entire Texas team was rolling. Everyone on the roster scored—including the five walk-ons.

 “Anytime the whole entire team scores, it’s a great night,” Turner said. “It creates great vibes.”

Holland had nine points and a career-high eight assists. Kendal Yancy, in his second straight start, also set a career-high in assists with seven. Senior forward Jonathan Holmes added 17 points while freshman Jordan Barnett had his best game of his young career tallying 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from downtown (he was 1-of-12 coming into the game).

While the offense was clicking, the defense showed some vulnerability (not much, but some). The Longhorns, who pride themselves, on the defensive end, came into the game fifth in the nation, allowing just 50.9 points per contest. But Lipscomb was able to crack 60—the first team to hit that mark against Texas’ length this year.   

Just hours before tip-off, sophomore guard Damarcus Croaker announced he was transferring from the school and was given an unconditional release from his scholarship.

“Damarcus has been a great teammate,” Barnes said. “The role he plays is difficult. He wants to play. We didn’t want him to leave.”