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We've got an update on a Longhorns starter that might explain some things

The Longhorns will host Kansas State today at 7 p.m.

There wasn’t a whole lot to like from the Longhorns 82-74 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday, Texas’ second loss in a row after winning six straight.

Isaiah Taylor continued his stellar play by scoring 35 points on 11-of-22 shooting [he also hit 13-of-14 free throws].

Javan Felix was the only other Longhorn in double-figures with 13.

One head-scratcher was Demarcus Holland, who only scored two points in three minutes.

He did pick up two early fouls. But that shouldn’t have kept him out for most of the game. What gives?

“Demarcus, it’s kind of a sensitive topic,” Shaka Smart said on his Monday teleconference. “I’m not exactly sure how to say it but he has some family challenges back home, nothing directly with him. Unfortunately, as we all do in our lives, is have some family challenges.”

Smart said that Holland missed all of the practices leading up to the UConn game and then only practiced once leading up to the Tech game [the day before].

“He obviously wasn’t himself because he hadn’t practiced much,” Smart said. “But he’s been back with us for the last couple of days. He’s such a big part of what we do because he brings a level of toughness, aggressiveness. We could have used that more out there on Saturday. But, as a coach, you want to be sensitive to the fact that these guys have families and have other things going on in their lives.”

Holland’s absence was certainly a factor in UT’s play but was far from the cause of their Big 12 opening loss. Smart was not pleased with several little things.

“For example, communication at times is not where it needs to be,” he said. “Sometimes in our pick-and-roll defense if a couple of guys were in the right spots guarding the ball a couple were in the wrong spot off the ball. I thought there were some things we did a good job at when we got back from The Bahamas that we didn’t do a good job at Texas Tech.”

Smart knows the Horns are going to have to be a lot more buttoned up to beat Kansas State tonight.

“Kansas State has a really, gritty, tough and aggressive team,” Smart said. “They are defensive-minded and play great together. That’s what stuck out to me when I was watching film. They’re a team. They share the basketball, on the defensive end they cover for another. They never stop coming after you with their aggressiveness.”

 

*****

 

Per UT:

Texas (8-5, 0-1 Big 12) vs. Kansas State (10-3, 0-1 Big 12)

 

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 - 7 p.m. Central

Frank Erwin Center (16,540) - Austin, Texas

 

GameDay Quick Facts?• Television: The game will be televised nationally by Longhorn Network. Lowell Galindo (pxp), Lance Blanks (analyst) and Jane Slater (reporter) will call the action.?• Radio: The Longhorn IMG Radio Network broadcast every UT game on the statewide network. Craig Way (pxp) and Eddie Oran (analyst) will call the action. Check www.TexasSports.com for a listing of affiliates carrying the game. ?• Series: K-State leads, 17-13. Last meeting: Texas 62-49 (March 7, 2015; Austin).

 

Notables

• SUCCESS IN BIG 12 HOME OPENERS: UT enters Tuesday's contest with a 15-4 record in Big 12 Conference home openers.

 

• TAYLOR'S CAREER DAY: Junior Isaiah Taylor set a career high with 35 points (11-of-22 FG, 13-of-14 FT) to go along with six assists against just one turnover in 37 minutes during Saturday's loss at Texas Tech. In the last three games, Taylor has averaged 26.7 points per game while converting 30-of-55 (.545) field goals. He enters Tuesday's game just 26 points shy of reaching the 1,000-point milestone.

• FELIX DIALS LONG DISTANCE: Senior Javan Felix has converted a team-best 50.9 percent (29-of-57) from three-point range this season. Felix hit 3-of-5 threes on Saturday at Texas Tech, marking the sixth time in the first 13 games this year that he has connected on at least three 3-pointers.


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