J'Covan Brown started off the season by tying his career high with 28 points against Boston University. Tuesday, he set a new high, pouring in 35 points while dishing out six assists to no turnovers.
"I was really upset with missing the two free throws," Brown said. "But today my teammates did a great job of screening and leaving me open for open shots."
The Longhorns (2-0) needed that performance to rid themselves of a team that proved pesky despite falling behind big early. Texas led by as many as 17 points at 34-17, only to have the Rams (0-2) close the half on a 23-10 run and enter halftime down by just three at 46-43.
In fact, Rhode Island actually took the lead at 59-58 on a Blake Vedder free throw, the Rams' first lead since scoring the game's first bucket of the game. But the Rams never led again. Texas scored the game's next 15 points to take a 73-59 advantage, and Rhode Island never closed to single digits the rest of the way.
"When you are sitting there as a coach, you like that comfort (of having the lead)," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "But, when you look back at it, it was probably a good thing in the long run. I thought it showed something when we took the lead. We had good plays and effort, some intensity-type things in terms of Jonathan Holmes' rebounds."
Brown's hot start has him averaging 31.5 points and seven assists per game, while he's committed just one turnover through two contests. Myck Kabongo added 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds while going to the free throw line 17 times. As a team, the Longhorns went to the line 44 times, converting 35 shots. Jonathan Holmes (11), Julien Lewis (11) and Sheldon McClellan (10) also scored in double digits.
"Rhode Island is a hard team to play because they are never going to stop," Barnes said. "They are going to keep coming. They take some difficult shots and make them. We had to talk to our team about not getting caught up in their style. We want to run and we want to be aggressive."
Just two days after getting out-rebounded by Boston University, the Longhorns tied the Rams with 42 boards apiece, thanks to five players with six or more rebounds. Clint Chapman paced Texas with eight boards in 22 minutes.
Texas will next take on Oregon State Saturday in the Championship Round of the TicketCity Legends Classic. Should the Longhorns win, they will take on the winner of N.C. State and Vanderbilt on Monday.