Myles Turner turns out in force as Texas beats Tech

Evan Berkowitz

This was the Myles Turner everyone has been waiting for.

Not the freshman who scored in the single digits in the last four games or the self-proclaimed 7-footer who, in that same time period, missed half his free throws after shooting at an 89-percent clip. Not the highly touted prospect who connected on just one of his last seven threes.

But the Myles Turner that, in a must-win on his home court, delivered a career game to carry Texas to a 56–41 win against Texas Tech on Saturday, evening out the Longhorns’ conference record.

“I was just confident,” Turner said. “The last couple of games, I didn’t play with the same poise and the same confidence.”

Scoring from the inside and out, Turner finished with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting. It was his third 20-point game of the season, but the first against a well-named opponent. He was also big on the boards, gathering a career-high 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

While Turner was deflating Tech’s morale, the Texas zone showed the Red Raiders (12–14, 2–11 Big 12) no love on Valentine’s Day, limiting them to just 33 percent shooting. Texas Tech senior guard Robert Turner did all he could to keep them in the game, dropping 10 points, but as the only Red Raider in double figures, it wasn’t nearly enough for an offense that struggled mightily.

“It was the first time this year [Turner] approached the game with a defensive mentality,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “Without question, he did the best job all year playing the middle of it. Overall, I thought he was terrific, and he got started on the
defensive end.”

The game was slow-paced from the outset, as both teams struggled offensively. With just under three minutes left in the first half, Texas Tech held a one-point lead. But an 11–0 run by Texas to end the half evaporated Tech’s lead quickly, giving Texas (17–8, 6–6 Big 12) breathing room in the second half.

Tech was able to cut its deficit to 5 midway through the second half, but that was as close as the team would get, as it couldn’t stop Turner.

“Myles Turner was outstanding,” Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith said. “Not only is he talented, but he’s a smart player.”

While Turner handled most of the work on offense, accounting for 45 percent of the team’s points, the rest of the points were evenly divided out with junior guard Javan Felix and junior forward Connor Lammert leading the crowded pack with just six points apiece.

In his first game back after missing two with a concussion, senior forward Jonathan Holmes played fewer minutes than usual, as he came off the bench and finished with five points on 1-of-5 shooting. In 118 games, this was just his 19th off the bench.

Texas will return to action Tuesday when it travels to Norman, Oklahoma to start a brutal stretch of five straight ranked opponents.

“We just have to string together wins,” Felix said. “It’s a tough night every night in the Big 12. I believe that if we keep doing things the right way and play for each other, then we’ll be fine.”