PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cameron Ridley was absolutely dominant on Saturday posting the game’s only double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds to go along with two blocks in 23 minutes.
That was Ridley’s 14th career double-double and also tied his career high for rebounds.
Ridley, who lost around 20 pounds over the offseason, just looks like a different player this season. He’s diving for loose balls and even talking a little smack, which is definitely not something he has done in the past.
One play that really epitomizes the change I’ve seen in him this season was the body control he showed while finishing a layup off a lob from Kerwin Roach. Big guys his size aren’t supposed to be able to move like he did in the air.
This is exactly what Texas wanted from Ridley on Saturday and it didn’t hurt that he did it with five-star center Jarrett Allen sitting a few rows back near UT’s bench.
JUST DIDN’T HAVE IT
Isaiah Taylor came back to earth a little bit after going off for 27 points against Washington.
UT’s point guard had just six points on 1-of-7 shooting. He did, however, have a game-high eight assists and pulled down six rebounds.
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN…
Javan Felix, for the second time in the game, hit back-to-back threes with just under 6 minutes to go. It pushed Texas’ lead to 58-47, which was more than enough for the Longhorns to get their first win of the season.
STATS OF THE GAME
40.4 – Texas’ field goal percentage after connecting on 23-of-57 shots. UT shot just 26 percent in its loss to UW.
25 – Texas’ fastbreak points compared to just 8 for TAMUCC.
18 – Number of turnovers for the Longhorns after turning it over 13 times against Washington. Smart won’t like that.
0 – Number of shots Tevin Mack made on six attempts after going 1-for-12 against the Huskies.
Shooters are going to shoot, regardless of how poorly they shot it the game before. That’s exactly what Javan Felix did on Saturday and it paid off for him.
Felix was 0-for-5 from the field in China but bounced back by hitting 4-of-7 shots, including all four of his three-point attempts, to finish with 12 points.
He twice made back-to-back threes to help keep TAMUCC at bay.
Felix is going to drive some people crazy this season with his shot selection but he’s going to be vital to UT’s success because he is a capable shooter, especially with Texas’ freshmen struggling to find their way right now.
If Connor Lammert can hit the open three like he did tonight [3-of-5] the Longhorns are going to be extremely tough to stop.
Lammert has one of the purest jumpers on the team [lefties always make it look better] but he struggled with consistency last season.
Tonight he said he was able to get open looks because of the extra pass.
Demarcus Holland needs to continue to be aggressive on the offensive end if the Longhorns are going to be successful as they want.
I asked Shaka about this after the game and he basically said that Holland needs to be even more aggressive than he was tonight [2-of-9]. I couldn’t agree more.
His offensive game is underrated.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Javan Felix on Tevin Mack’s struggles shooting the ball: “I know we are going to shoot the ball when we are open. I don’t know if we are going to shoot more threes as the season goes on.”
Javan Felix on Tevin Mack’s struggles shooting the ball: “Tevin is a good shooter. He is stepping into it with a lot of confidence. I‘m definitely telling him to keep shooting. I’m in his ear. I’ve had my struggles. That’s going to happen.”
Cameron Ridley giving thanks to his teammates for feeding him the ball tonight: “My teammates definitely looked for me and the rest of the big men. That was a goal to get us more touches because we had the size advantage.
“I appreciate the guards looking for us.”
Javan: “You’re welcome.”
Felix on how the experience on this team can help propel the program to new heights: “Experience is going to be really key. We’ve ben doing what we can to help the fresh along because we know we are going to need them. Us, as upperclassmen, we are going to do what we can to further.”
Felix on The Battle 4 Atlantis: “This Bahamas trip is definitely an important chance. We have a chance to make a really big statement. It just so happens that Texas A&M is our first opponent. We will be ready to play and give our best.”
Connor Lammert on Javan Felix giving the game ball to Shaka Smart for picking up his first win at UT: “It’s awesome. Javan had a nice gesture. He got the game ball and he presented Coach with the ball. We tackled him and roughed him up a bit.”
Lammert on the A&M game: “I think our class was the first time we didn’t have that rivalry anymore. But I grew up watching Texas. We know what has come before us and the mentality they had going up against this other team. We know the tradition of this rivalry. It’s very important for this. We understand the importance of this to the University of Texas.”
“It’s good to get on the court and get a win. In addition to that I’m proud of our guys this week in practice, and tonight, taking a small step.”
On picking up his first win at UT: “I appreciate those guys acknowledging that. I grabbed Isaiah [Taylor] yesterday and said “Can your coach get a win please?” He said, “I got you coach.”
On Cam: “He’s a talented player. I think he can even do more. One of the biggest keys is keeping him on the floor. He got into some foul trouble the last time out against Washington. For the most part he was able to play without that worry [tonight]. He’s a good player. We want to get him the ball as much as we can.
Was it hard convincing Cam that running the floor would be good for his game? “I still am trying to convince him of that. Cam is very, very coconscious, and an intelligent young man. He’s trying to see what he can do. But it’s not easy when you are that big and that strong to play with ridiculous effort all the way down.”
On importance of getting a W against A&M: “I think because their team is a Top 25 caliber team a win like that does wonders for you. No. 1 our guys are going to have to step up and understand to win a game like that you have to fight and battle for every possession.”
On Demarcus Holland, who was 2-of-9 tonight, but far more aggressive offensively than he has been this season: “I think he’s making progress. He probably, more than anyone, wants to please and be accountable. But you can’t hold on too tight. Sometimes you have to loosen your grip a little bit and let it ride. He made progress tonight but he has to let go.”
On what he wants to carry over from this game: “Our guys put an emphasis s on the defensive end tonight. We need to carry that over.”
Kendall Yancy got the start in place of Eric Davis Jr. He hit his head pretty hard fighting for a rebound in the first half, went back to the locker room and did not play again. Eric Davis started in his place in the second half.
Demarcus Holland attacked the rim [missed a layup] on Texas’ first possession after not taking a shot in the first half against UW.
Prince Ibeh and Eric Davis were the first off the bench for UT at the 17:17 mark, replacing Cameron Ridley and Kendal Yancy respectively.
The Longhorns had 11 players play in the first half and 10 of them scored.
Isaiah Taylor’s first points of the first half came with two free throws with 6.1 seconds left. He didn’t make his first field goal until a layup with just over 15 minutes to go in the second half.
The little stats TV I have sitting in front of me at the arena said that Texas’ average time of possession tonight was 15 seconds. TAMUCC’s was 19.
The Longhorns head to the Bahamas to play Texas A&M on Nov. 25 in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Tip is at 6 p.m. The winner of that game plays the winner of Gonzaga/Washington on Nov. 26. The final round is on Nov 27.
Longhorns guard Javan Felix