A pair of Longhorn seniors rewrote Texas’ record book Tuesday night.
First, guard Javan Felix hit a 3-pointer at the 4:04 mark of the second half to become the 35th Texas player to score 1,000 career points.
It was center Cameron Ridley’s turn in the second half. A block with 11:15 to play gave him nine against Appalachian State, setting the individual record for blocks in a game.
The veteran performances helped overcome a sleepy start, and guided the Longhorns to a 67-55 win over the Mountaineers at the Frank Erwin Center.
Felix’s feat was an encore from his 25-point game in Texas’ 84-82 win over North Carolina on Saturday. Head coach Shaka Smart said on Monday that how a team responds to a big win is important, but for the first half, Texas’ response was poor.
“Just okay,” Smart said of the team’s performance. “And it’s human nature, but you’ve got to be better than human nature if you want to be a great team.”
The Longhorns held the Mountaineers to 28.1 percent shooting in the first half, but Texas’ offense wasn’t much better — the Longhorns’ shooting dipped below 30 percent midway through the first 20 minutes.
But seven points apiece from Felix, senior guard Kendal Yancy and junior guard Isaiah Taylor helped Texas go into halftime up 34-27 and improve its shooting to 36.8 percent.
“I think we didn’t come out and play to our full potential in the first half,” Felix said. “That’s just something that’s unacceptable.”
The Mountaineers didn’t go away in the second half, and tied the game at 48-48 with 9:29 left to play.
Then, Ridley happened. The big-man had 17 second half points, highlighted by a one-handed alley-oop dunk, and helped Texas end the game on a 19-7 run.
Ridley said the Mountaineers stopped double-teaming him in the second half, and Smart took advantage by running the offense through him. He ended with 19 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocks — one block shy of the second triple-double in program history.
“Practicing often and the extra cardio that I’ve been doing just gets me ready for this,” Ridley said. “And I know I’m capable of it.”
Ridley’s nine blocks helped Texas reach 15 total on the night, setting a team record. The defensive effort bothered the Mountaineers, who ended shot 30 percent on the night.
“I thought between [Ridley] and Prince [Ibeh], they really saved us defensively on a lot of possessions,” Smart said. “Our perimeter guys should give them a big hug, because those guys saved the day multiple times.”
The win gives Texas a perfect 5-0 homestand, but Smart wants to see more of what happened against North Carolina going forward, starting Saturday when Texas plays Stanford on the road.
“I don’t think it was terrible, but it wasn’t the same as North Carolina,” Smart said. “In that game, our guys decided ‘Wow, we better stick together and do this together and with each other.”