The UT guard, fighting for a loose ball, injured his left knee and had to be helped off the court. On the bench after the injury, before being escorted to the lockerroom, Williams grimaced in pain as the trainers evaluated his knee. The extent of the injury is currently unknown. Williams will be reevaluated Wednesday morning after the swelling in his knee goes down.
"I'm worried about Fredie because when he doesn't get up there's something wrong," Rick Barnes said. "If there's ever been a kamikaze kid, it's been him. I've said from day one, the personality of this team has to be his personality."
When Williams left the game, he had already totaled 17 points and seven boards in 23 minutes on the floor. Chris Owens took over, scoring 12 of his team-high 20 points in the Horns' 26-point, late-game outburst. T.J. Ford, coming off a 12 assist performance in UT's exhibition opener, had seven assists, eight points on three of five shooting, and five turnovers.
Barnes was quick to point out post-game that several of T.J.'s TOs were the result of big men unprepared for the pass. "The post guys need to be more alert," the head coach said. "The post guys have got to get in sync with the perimeter guys."
Despite a couple of T.J. tossed alley oop misses and the post player's struggles catching the ball, Ford turned in the highlight play of the night. With favorable numbers in transition, T.J. took the dribble to the top of the key, looked left to Royal Ivey on the perimeter, sending the lone defender scurrying towards the three point line, leaving Ford a simple pass to a wide-open Owens under the basket for an easy bucket.
If Williams is unable to go against Arizona on Saturday, the bulk of the point guard duties minutes will fall to Ford. Ivey, who played the point for the Horns during much of last season but who had moved to the two guard spot this fall, will back-up T.J. Juco transfer and projected point guard Terrell Ross missed substantial time since the summer with a foot injury and is not ready to contribute significant minutes according to Barnes.
The coach praised Ivey's play against EA, particularly after Williams went down. "Royal was terrific against the zone driving the ball," he said. The sophomore scored six points, all on penetrations in the game's final seven minutes.
"Now we'll find out how good our depth is," Barnes said.