Turner gets first start, helps UT beat Rice

Texas freshman big man Myles Turner got his first career start and celebrated by going off for the 11th-ranked Longhorns in a 66-55 win over Rice on Monday. Here are my 5 thoughts on the game:

#1 ... Myles Turner was 6-of-7 from the floor (2-of-2 3pt) for a team-leading 16 points with 5 rebounds as the Horns broke open a three-point game (54-51) in the final 3:19 with two, big, back-to-back 3-point plays by Jonathan Holmes (12 points) and Kendal Yancy.

 

#2 ... For the second game in a row, Texas allowed an opponent to shoot better than 40 percent from the floor as Rice hit 42 percent (21 of 50) and was within three points with 3:19 left. But, who else, Jonathan Holmes answered big for Texas when the Horns needed him most. Holmes' 3-point play was his only made basket of the second half (1-of-7 FG). Again, even when he's struggling, he finds a way to help his team.

Holmes had 10 rebounds - EIGHT on the offensive end - a huge reason UT outscored Rice 18-4 in second-chance points.

 

#3 ... In the first half, Texas couldn't hit anything from the perimeter as Kendal Yancy (0-of-3), Demarcus Holland (0-of-2), Jordan Barnett (1-of-4) and Javan Felix (1-of-4 ... all from 3) were a combined 2-of-13 shooting.

But they bounced back in the second half: Yancy (2-of-4), Holland (3-of-4), Barnett (1-of-2) and Felix (2-of-2) as UT shot 48 percent in the second half - 43.4 percent for the game.

 

#4 ... An old nemesis showed up for Texas in this one - poor FT shooting: 17 of 28, 60.7 percent

It was UT's worst game from the FT line since hitting 9-of-18, 50 percent, vs Alcorn State on Nov. 16. Horns were hitting an average of 73.8 percent from the foul line coming into Monday's game vs Rice.

Kendal Yancy (2-of-5) and Cam Ridley (5-of-8) struggled the most from the foul line.

Texas outrebounded Rice 39-25 and it showed in UT's dominance in points in the paint - 38 to 22.

But still too many turnovers by the Horns (16) as Yancy, Holland and Holmes each had 3 turnovers while Turner and Felix each had 2.

After averaging nearly 9 blocks the last four games (8.7), UT had only 3 blocks vs Rice (2 by Ridley, 1 by Felix!).

 

#5 ... Next up for the 11th-ranked Horns (11-2) is the Big 12 opener at Texas Tech on Saturday, when sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor (left wrist) is expected back for Texas after missing 9 games, including both UT losses (at Kentucky and home vs Stanford).

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