Men's Basketball Tops Rice, 73-59
Dec. 31, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - J'Covan Brown scored 23 points and Texas downed Rice 73-59 on Saturday.
Brown had three 3-pointers and was 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. Sheldon McClellan added 19 points in his first start and the Longhorns (10-3) won in their first game since losing at No. 5 North Carolina on Dec. 21.
Rice missed five layups and shot 29 percent in the first half but only trailed 35-27 at intermission. The Owls (9-5) got within one point in the second half before Texas used a late run to seal the win.
Tamir Jackson had 19 points but Rice missed the chance to beat a second Big 12 team in two weeks after winning at Texas A&M on Dec. 22.
· Texas holds a 135-59 lead in its all-time series against Rice.
· Texas improves to 101-9 (.918) at the Erwin Center in the last seven seasons [dating back to the start of the 2005-06 season] and 191-24 (.888) at the Erwin Center under Rick Barnes.
· Texas has held its last nine opponents to an average of 57.3 points per game; its last nine opponents have shot 34.3% from the field (175-of-510), including a 53-of-159 (.333) from three-point range.
· Texas improves to 116-15 (.884) against in-state opponents during the Rick Barnes era.
· Texas now has held 222 of its 457 opponents to under 40% FG shooting during the Rick Barnes era.
· Texas improved to 7-2 on the season when outrebounding its opponent.
· Earned first career start
· Scored 20 points or more (23 pts.) for the seventh time this season and 15th time in his career
· Reached double figures in scoring for the 12th time this season and 45th time in his career
· Earned his first start since his sophomore season (Nov. 14, 2008 vs. Stetson) and the third of his career
· Tied his career high in three-point field goals made (three)
· Set career highs in rebounds (nine) and minutes (36)
· Earned first career start
· Reached double figures in scoring (19 points) for the ninth time in 13 games this season
· Set a career high in free throws made (eight) and tied his career high in steals (three)
· Scored 35 points (11-of-22 FG shooting, 10-of-12 FT) in his last two games
TEXAS COACH QUOTES
HEAD COACH Rick Barnes
On what prompted the lineup changes: Well, besides Julien Lewis being injured, the others got to start and play more because of production. They were getting more things done and being more productive.
On offensive efficiency and turnovers: Sometimes, our young guys make it more complicated than it has to be. Our first inbounds play under our basket, we got an open shot for J'Covan Brown. On the very next inbounds play, we ran the same play and he was open again. But, instead we tried to dump it down under the basket and we turned it over. That's where youth comes in to play. We have to learn to take what is open and not force things or make things too complicated.
On Sheldon McClellan's play: I thought Sheldon did really well. He's trying. He's being asked to do things he's never done, but he wants to be a good basketball player. He certainly has good talent. He's one of those guys that, honestly, every time he shoots, he thinks it's going in.
On UT playing its first game after the holiday break: I could tell coming back from Christmas that it was tough on them. But they've worked, and they want to be good. I thought we played well today. We played a team that makes you guard, and we held them to 30 percent from the field. Other than the turnovers, I thought this was a good first game back. Now, we need to get ready for conference play coming up next week.
TEXAS PLAYER QUOTES
JUNIOR GUARD J'Covan Brown
On how the new starting lineup affected him: It was not much different. I have good chemistry with all of my teammates.
On getting the team on track by scoring early: I was just hoping I could make my shots. Coach (Barnes) stressed to all of our shooters to be open and take our shot, and that is what I did.
On the biggest difference between the team now and in the preseason: I think our team chemistry is coming along. We still have things we need to work on, like helping each other and the certain things it takes to win a national championship. We have to go in and start on Wednesday (in the Big 12 Conference opener) to get it together. When we come back tomorrow we have to do those things that Coach (Barnes) preaches.
On whether this was a good test for the team: It was a good test. Every time we play Rice, they always find a way to keep pushing. I like to play these teams to see where we are. You knew that team was going to make a run. We just had to stay with them.
On being more aggressive, offensively, in the second half: It might have looked like we were being more aggressive, but you can only do so much with what the other team gives you. They were giving us shots. We will take them all day if they are open. They adjusted in the second half, and we had to adjust to win. Whatever another team gives, we have to take.
FRESHMAN GUARD Sheldon McClellan
On when he found out he was starting: I found out yesterday in practice. I knew Julian had the hand injury. That is when I found out.
On the difficulty of being a starter: Yeah, I definitely [was tired]. I think I did okay. On offense, I kept running baseline-to-baseline. That got me kind of tired, so I asked for a substitution. I've just got to get in better shape.
On growing up as a team after the North Carolina game: We grew up fast. The first practice after the Carolina game was brutal. But, we matured. We are getting better as a team.
On opening up the lead in the second half: We were just trying to stay together as a team. Rice never gives up. We just had to run our offense.
HEAD COACH BEN BRAUN
Opening statement: I saw the culprits in the hallway there, [J'Covan] Brown and [Sheldon] McClellan. Those guys made huge plays for their team today. I thought they both stepped up and made big shots for their team, as well as getting the ball to certain guys off penetration. If that didn't go, then they also were able to get to the foul line and convert from there. Big plays from big time players; those guys made plays when they had to. I was a little disappointed on the boards. I thought giving up a 10-rebound difference was tough for us. We just have to do a better job of closing the gap there, but that is the big difference in the game. We took care of the ball a little bit better in the second half, but in the first half we [allowed] 10 points off turnovers. That's pretty much the difference in the score in the first half.
On Rice's shooting performance: Some days we're shooting it well, some days we're not. We shot well from three, but believe it or not I counted five point-blank layups [missed] today. And when I say point-blank layups, I don't even know that they were challenged. I just think it was the anticipation of the shot-block. That's a big difference, that's a 10-point swing.
On how this game compared and contrasted to Rice's win over Texas A&M: I think we converted a little bit better that game. We obviously rebounded the ball better, so those are the two differences. We didn't convert today, which we normally do. Even on our fast breaks, we had three guys running in the middle lane instead of two guys wide and one guy in the middle. We had some opportunities a few times today, but not like we had [against Texas A&M].