Ridley, Guards Pace Longhorns over TCU

Cameron Ridley and Texas' guards paced Texas in its 66-43 victory on Wednesday. Here are the biggest takeaways from the game:

1.

With Texas’ 66-43 victory, Rick Barnes became just the 13th active NCAA Division I men’s basketball coach to reach the 600-win milestone.

Barnes improved to 600-308 overall while the Longhorns moved to 16-8 overall and 5-6 in Big 12 play.

Honestly, winning a game tonight was more important than that,” Barnes said. “I still have a lot of faith in these guys. We had 17 really bad days. In sports you don’t always get rewarded the way you want to.

“I’ve been fortunate and blessed. I was a head coach at a very young age. I’ve worked for great institutions, athletic directors, players and coaching staffs. I’ve been blessed. I wouldn’t change any of it. I’d like to win a lot more, anywhere.

2.

Kendal Yancy’s confidence continues to rise, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Longhorns.

The sophomore guard got the start on Wednesday in replace of Javan Felix and did not disappoint. Better yet for Texas, his most notable contribution came from an area on the court that hasn’t been a strong suit of his all season: his three-point shot.

He hit two threes early in the first half to start Texas’ sprint away from the Horned Frogs, and found more success around the basket in the second half to finish with 12 points. He came in averaging 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds.

”I just try my best to play hard and be able to do what I do within the system,” he said.

Yancy got some valuable experience early in the season when Isaiah Taylor went down with his injury and showed flashes of becoming an all-around contributor for Rick Barnes. He averaged 7.2 points and 4.4 rebounds in 27.2 minutes per game over those 10 games without Taylor.

But there was still some hesitancy in his game.

Barnes has always said that one of Yancy’s best attributes is his dribble-drive capability. He wants Yancy looking for his shot but to be smart if it’s not there.

We didn’t see much of his dribble-drive on Wednesday but that had much to do with the success he was having from the outside.

Barnes shared a story after the game that he believes was a “light switch” moment for Yancy. It came the following day after the TCU game in Fort Worth.

Barnes brought Yancy into his office and asked him what he always told him. Yancy answered, “Play like Demarcus Holland.”

Barnes said that’s what he’s started to do, and it’s made all the difference in the world.

A confident Yancy combined with a healthy Javan Felix is great news for UT moving forward.

”Confidence. I was confident,” he said. “Confidence in shooting. I have guys telling me, ‘You’re a shooter, you’re a shooter.’”

3.

Javan Felix wasted little time getting back into a rhythm after missing the last two games due to a concussion he suffered during UT’s loss at Baylor on Jan. 31.

Despite not entering the game until the 14:22 mark, Felix led all scorers in the first half with 9 points on 3-of-5 shooting from three-point range. He finished 5-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc for 16 points.

Felix said afterward that he was worried about what could happen to him if he got hit again, but couldn’t let that stop him from going out and giving it his all.

”A couple of days after [the concussion], the headaches stopped,” he said. “I was worried after I first got hit because it was my third one since last February.”

This is such a serious issue with Felix that he said he might not be able to continue playing if he got another concussion.

“We’re concerned. We will be,” Barnes said about Felix. “The game the way it is, you never know. We are concerned about it. We have a protocol but we won’t turn them loose. John Holmes begged, begged to go with us to Kansas State.”

Felix didn’t just settle for his jump shot on Wednesday. He facilitated as well as any on the team, finishing with four assists (one shy of Taylor’s game-high).

4.

TCU doesn’t do a whole lot well but one thing it has proven to do well on a consistent basis in conference play is crash the offensive glass.

In the last five games combined prior to Wednesday, the Frogs have out-rebounded nationally ranked Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma in offensive rebounds by a combined 91-64.

Texas held them at bay in the first half, holding a-32 edge in that category, but the Horned Frogs managed to separate themselves a bit in the second half and finished with a 9-4 edge. Of course, there won’t be too many offensive rebounds to be had considering Texas shot 51.4 percent.

The Longhorns did, however, hold the edge in total rebounds, 36-27. Ridley led the way with 12.

5.

This was the type of game you had a feeling Texas would jump out to a lead in.

Question was: Would the Longhorns settle with their early success and give TCU hope for 40 minutes, or would UT step on the gas and never looked back?

It was the latter this time around as Texas continued to press the pace despite holding a double-digit lead throughout the second half.

And, despite what you might be thinking considering TCU’s record, that’s not an easy thing to do to this team.

In six out of TCU’s nine losses coming in, the Frogs had either led or trailed by single-digits in the last five minutes of the game, but couldn’t get the victory.

You could sense that Barnes wasn’t going to let Texas “play down to its competition” so to speak as he was quick to take timeouts anytime he saw a lapse, especially defensively.

TCU crept back into the game, but it wasn’t for a lack of hustle. The Frogs started to hit shots and were able to have some success on the offensive glass.

They cut Texas’ lead to 7 twice under 11 minutes but never got any closer. This is a positive for UT. Not just because it held on, but in the way it held on.

Texas will likely have a similar game on Saturday when Texas Tech comes to town. Will the result be the same?

6.What’s up with Myles Turner?

The highly-regarded freshman, who is a popular NBA Lottery pick in most every mock draft you can find, only had 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block in 19 minutes (seven in the second half).

This comes after three straight games in which he’s scored 2 points (Baylor), 8 points (Oklahoma State), and 7 points (Kansas State). Turner hasn’t reached double figure scoring since he had 16 points at Iowa State on Jan. 26.

Turner didn’t shoot but three times against TCU. In the three games mentioned above, he never shot more than eight times in a game.

”He’s struggling a little bit, trying too hard,” Barnes said. “The way you know that is he has great hands. He’s dropping the ball. He’s not in rhythm. But he’s a worker. He’d tell you, it’s harder than he ever could have imagined. Expectations were unfair for them.”

Barnes continued: “He’s trying. His teammates are really trying to help him. He’s on a team where guys have 2.5, 3 years experience on him [at this level].”

Texas’ head coach said he thinks things will get much easier for him when Holmes returns.”

”He’ll be able to some of the things we think he’ll be able to do.

Next up:

At home vs. Texas Tech on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. That game will be televised on ESPNU.

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