When Texas escaped with a narrow win on Friday, Longhorn coach Rick Barnes said he was mostly pleased with the performance, except that the Horns didn't shoot very well. On Monday night, the Longhorns cruised to an easy win, but may wind up with more to fix on the practice courts.
The Longhorns committed a Barnes-era high in turnovers with 26 and shot just 55.2 percent from the free throw line, but were never challenged in a 69-46 win over Coppin State in an Opening Game of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational.
"We had a chance to break it away three times but we had 26 turnovers," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "That's disappointing. I think we're better than we played."
That victory came thanks to multiple career highs — like Sheldon McClellan pouring in a sweet 25 points in 29 minutes — and through holding Coppin State to just 24.6 percent from the field, including a garish 15.6 percent from three-point range. The Longhorns also nearly doubled-up the Eagles on the boards, grabbing 50 to their 26, including a 50-50 split on the offensive glass. Texas nabbed 16 offensive rebounds, while Coppin State had just 16 defensive boards.
Texas led by six at 16-10 after two free throws from Coppin State's Patrick Cole before the Longhorns hit a hot streak, going on a 12-0 run that boosted the lead to 18. The Eagles never seriously mounted a comeback, never getting closer than 12 points the rest of the way, while Texas pushed the lead as high as 27 points in the second half.
But it wasn't exactly a picture perfect effort. Javan Felix went 0-for-3 from the field, and while he dished out a game-high nine assists — tripling the number the entire team had against Fresno State — he also committed eight turnovers. Big men Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh combined to grab 16 boards and block four shots, but they went 2-for-9 from the free throw line and committed eight turnovers between them.
Barnes said that Felix's turnovers were the result of fatigue, with Felix pressed often through a 33-minute performance days after logging 38 minutes. And he also blamed entry passes for the big men's turnovers, saying some of them put the big men "in jail," where they couldn't do anything with the ball.
Ioannis Papapetrou turned in a complete performance, finishing second on the team in points with 10, and tying for first with Ibeh in rebounds with nine. Papapetrou also had a block and a steal, while handling the point for minutes at a time.
When asked about his role, he said it was whatever Coach Barnes asked him to do. He was then asked which he preferred, playing point guard or power forward.
"[It] doesn't matter," Papapetrou said. "Just go out and play hard."
Meanwhile, Coppin State coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell said that Texas intimidated the Eagles, particularly Ibeh with his shot-blocking. Ibeh finished with three blocks, but altered countless other looks.
"He intimidated us a lot," Mitchell said. "That did cause problems for us. We did have good looks at one point, but he changed that and altered a lot of shots. I looked at the stat sheet and I saw only six blocks, but I thought I was watching another game. If they [shots] weren't rejected, they were intimidated."
Texas will next travel to Maui to take part in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, opening with Chaminade at 8:30 p.m. on Monday. If the Longhorns win, they will take on either USC or Illinois in the semifinals on Tuesday, with the Championship Round set for Wednesday.