Javan Felix

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Isaiah Taylor has got until Sunday to figure out if he’s as ready for the NBA as Johnny Manziel was for the NFL. There’s no question in my mind: Taylor should stay for his junior year, further develop his skills and delay entering the NBA draft.

Taylor is a 6-foot-1-inch tall point guard who is astonishingly quick, has a unique ability to drive the ball and is a feisty ball defender. But he lacks a consistent jump shot and weighs a mere 170 pounds.

If Taylor chooses to stay at Texas, he’d be the driving force for head coach Shaka Smart’s new offensive and defensive scheme.

Taylor was already the head of the snake whenever the Longhorns decided to press opponents last season. He only averaged one steal per game in 2014–2015, but Smart’s “havoc” system will increase that number — Smart’s system demonstrably produces steals.

Since Taylor flourishes in the open court, the up-tempo pace Smart employs on offense will allow Taylor to drive the ball and have the defense on its heels.

Furthermore, with Taylor breaking down defenses as a result of his driving, he’ll be able to produce shots not just for himself, but also for his teammates. Texas’ two incoming recruits, Eric Davis and Kerwin Roach, are both players who can shoot and attack.

When Taylor blows by his man, it will force the next defender to help on the drive, if that defender helps off someone such as Davis, Roach, rising senior guard Javan Felix or any other player Texas has that can shoot (sorry, Demarcus Holland). From there, they’ll have fairly open looks at the basket.

Taylor’s drives will have the defenses scrambling from all of the team’s help and the knowledge that Texas has shooters on the perimeter. It’s often not the first drive that hurts the most — it’s the second drive. If Davis, Roach or Felix can drive the ball after getting a kick out pass from Taylor, then that will put even more pressure on the defense.

In order for Taylor to be as effective as possible, he will have to develop a jump shot. Without a jump shot, the chain of events that he causes as a result of his drives are unlikely to happen because Taylor’s defender could simply play off him. A consistent jump shot would make Taylor the best point guard in the nation because of all the threats he would pose. It’d be hard to guard someone with his quickness and a consistent jump shot.

The jump shot wouldn’t just elevate Isaiah’s game to a whole other echelon, but it would improve his draft stock. A former Arizona State point guard told me that when he would go up against point guard Avery Johnson, he would play off him because Johnson didn’t have a consistent jump shot.

Taylor would be guarded similarly, but his unique skill set merits something different. He should stay at UT and develop those skills further.

Iowa State sophomore guard Monte Morris capped off a 12-0 run with a step-back jumper over Texas junior guard Demarcus Holland to give the Cyclones the 69-67 win in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals Thursday.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Texas had it in the bag.

And then, just like that, Iowa State’s Monte Morris’ step-back buzzer-beater sunk Texas and gave Iowa State the 69–67 win in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals Thursday.

“What an unbelievable game — still not sure how we won,” Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Monte Morris just made a heck of an individual play.”

Texas hadn’t trailed a single second of the game, leading by a comfortable margin throughout. But as the clock began to dwindle, so did Texas.

Junior forward Connor Lammert gave it right to Iowa State on an inbounds pass. Sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor nonchalantly walked into a 10-second backcourt violation. And all of a sudden, with just over a minute left, Iowa State tied it up with a 10–0 run.

“It’s tough losing the way we did because just the turnovers in the last four minutes, really,” Texas head coach Rick Barnes said. “We made a few careless plays at the wrong time.”

Texas still had a chance, though. An offensive rebound gave Texas the opportunity to hold for the last shot as the score was knotted at 67, but, instead, junior guard Javan Felix cranked a three that clanked off the back rim and gave Iowa State the last chance.

“I can understand you would like to hold the ball there for that last shot if you could,” Barnes said. “But I could understand Javan shooting it with the rhythm he was into.”

The Cyclones made the most of their last opportunity. Morris, a sophomore guard, was isolated and hit a step-back jumper over junior guard Demarcus Holland as the buzzer went off to eliminate the Longhorns in the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Missouri. The Sprint Center, which was filled by Iowa State faithful, erupted.

“I tried as hard as I could to stop him from getting to the basket,” Holland said. “He made a great move; I tried to contest it, and he made the shot.”

The Longhorns beat Texas Tech on Wednesday night by pounding it inside in a second-half stretch that saw the Longhorns look as crisp as they have all season. But with Iowa State’s defensive player of the year, Jameel McKay, fronting Texas’ junior center Cameron Ridley nearly all game, Texas challenged Iowa State to a three-point shootout.

Texas fired up 22 from long range. Iowa State matched. Texas knocked down 10 of those. Iowa State matched.

Texas was able to build themselves a comfortable lead as Iowa State went ice-cold in the latter parts of the first half. From the 12:51 to the 3:06 mark, Iowa State missed 11 straight shots as Texas went on a 14–0 run to take control of the half and the game.

“It’s not very often we’re going to have a nine-minute scoring drought with what we have out there offensively,” Hoiberg said. “Give those guys a lot of credit.”

With a raucous crowd urging them on, Iowa State didn’t bend over. They fought and fought, cutting the lead many times. Texas found an answer each and every time — until the end.

“We played our hearts out,” Taylor said. “Our coaching staff put us in a great position to win a game.”

Senior forward Jonathan Holmes led Texas with 15 points. Taylor added 13. Felix poured in 10, all coming in the first half.

Iowa State was led by 24 from Morris and 22 from junior forward Georges Niang.

Now all Texas can do is wait until the NCAA Tournament selection committee determines its fate Sunday.

“We can’t really control anything right now,” Holland said. “We dropped one today that would have really helped us out a lot. I’m confident whatever tournament we got to, and, if we go to the Big Dance, that we will be a great team that can compete with anybody in the country.”

Sophomore guard Kendal Yancy more than doubled his previous career high with a 29-point outburst against Iowa State on Saturday. In his last three games, he’s scored 51 points.
Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

When sophomore guard Martez Walker left the University following multiple arrests in the fall, it was unclear how his minutes would be distributed among the backcourt.

Walker scored double figures in four of the last five contests of his freshman campaign, overcoming early-season struggles and demonstrating his potential value to the 2014–2015 squad. 

With his departure, there was a gaping hole in the Texas backcourt alongside sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor. Junior guard Demarcus Holland likely would have started but, while he is an elite defensive player, he does not have a scorer’s mentality. Junior guard Javan Felix, on the other hand, can score in bunches but struggles on the defensive end.

By default, Texas’ best hope for a complete guard rested in the maturation and development of sophomore Kendal Yancy. But could the guard who averaged only 3.4 points per game as a freshman take the necessary leap in production?

Early in the season the prognosis looked negative. 

When the 2K Classic concluded, he was only averaging 4.25 points per game while making less than 38 percent of his shots from the field.

However, because of injuries to both Taylor and Felix, Yancy was inserted into Texas’ starting lineup when it returned to Austin to face Saint Francis. His response was 12 points and six rebounds, tying his then career-highs in both.

In the win, Yancy attempted 10 shots. He wouldn’t match  that number again until setting a new career-high in points with 14 in a 74–71 overtime loss to Stanford. The performance was one of the most efficient efforts of his career. He finished with an effective field goal percentage of 65 percent and a true shooting percentage of 67 percent. 

Effective shooting percentage adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal, whereas true shooting percentage takes into account field goals, 3-point field goals and free throws.

Despite these efforts, the sophomore played less than eight minutes per game against Texas’ first eight conference opponents, scoring 1 point per contest.

Following concussions to
Felix in a loss at Baylor and to senior forward Jonathan Holmes in a loss to Oklahoma State, Yancy once again was thrust into the starting lineup and, this time, was determined to stay.

In wins over Kansas State, TCU and Texas Tech the sophomore did not produce very eye-popping numbers, but he appeared to be a positive presence on the floor. However, in losses to Oklahoma, Iowa State and West Virginia, Yancy asserted himself on the offensive end and did all he could to help out a team that struggled to hit baskets.

He scored a career-high 29 points against Iowa State— the most a Longhorn has scored in a game since Myck Kabongo dropped 31 points in Texas’ 22-point come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma in 2013. Perhaps even more impressively, Yancy sunk six threes in the loss — the same amount he hit during his entire freshman campaign. 

Yancy appears to be gaining confidence each and every game, and he is finally settling in as a threat when shooting the basketball. While his elevated play may not be quite enough to salvage the season, he could be setting himself up for a very productive junior season.

After suffering his third concussion in a year, junior guard Javan Felix is concerned about his future in basketball.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Junior guard Javan Felix’s concussion, which he suffered on Jan. 31 against Baylor, was serious enough to keep him out of two games.

But now, the injury appears to be even more significant than people originally realized, as Felix revealed Wednesday that the concussion was his third of the last calendar year. He said his first concussion happened on Feb. 1 of last year in a home win over Kansas, and his second came this season at some point in October.

After 10 days of rest and monitoring, he returned Wednesday night to lead Texas with 16 points and four made 3-pointers in its win over TCU. 

“I healed up well, thank God,” Felix said.

Felix said he had no prior history of concussions before suffering his first 12 months ago, but, after sustaining three in such a short period of time, he said he is worried.

“Of course,” Felix said. “It’s my brain. The only way to stop this is to not play, and I love basketball. It’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. I healed up, and I felt like I was ready to go, so I’m going to play as long as I can.”

However, if he suffers one more, he said he would deeply consider ending his career.

“I am worried about it,” Felix said. “Probably if I get hit hard, if it’s a real bad one, I won’t be able to play again.”

Felix, who missed one game last season after his first concussion, said he must do a better job of listening to his teammates and being aware of what’s happening around him.

Felix has been Texas’ best perimeter shooter and most reliable scorer off the bench. The junior is averaging 10.5 points and 26.1 minutes per game in 21 games for Texas this season. He leads the Longhorns with 40 made 3-pointers, and he is posting career bests in field goal percentage (.433) and 3-point percentage (.396).

Of course, the team is far more worried about his long-term health then it is in his ability to continue suiting up for games this season.

“We are concerned about Javan, especially with the game the way it is,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “Concussions are always something you
worry about.”

Felix said he felt fine following his first game back Wednesday. He is expected to play once again Saturday when the Longhorns host Texas Tech.

Texas (16–8, 5–6 Big 12) is striving for another win against the bottom-feeding Red Raiders (12–13, 2–10 Big 12), as its schedule gets much harder after Saturday. The Longhorns are slated to play five consecutive games against ranked opponents — three of which are on the road — before closing out the season at home against unranked Kansas State on March 7.

The Longhorns topped Texas Tech, 70–61, in Lubbock on Jan. 3 in their first matchup this season.

Texas head coach Rick Barnes earned his 600th career win Wednesday night. Barnes has been on the Longhorns’ sideline for 17 years.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Fresh off Wednesday’s win — the 600th of Rick Barnes’ head coaching career — junior guard Javan Felix had a suggestion on how his coach should celebrate: “Dance.”

“I just want to turn some music on in the locker room, and we all get around him — everyone in the program — and just let him dance,” Felix said.

Sophomore guard Kendal Yancy suggested the team put on a Katy Perry song.

Although the players have never seen it, Barnes insists he can dance, but he’ll only do it on his own terms.

“I probably can dance better than Javan,” Barnes said.

The longtime Texas coach was in an especially good mood after the Longhorns’ 66–43 victory over TCU, as it propelled Barnes into an echelon few others occupy. 

Barnes, who has spent the past 17 years as head coach of the Longhorns, improved to 398–174 in his career at Texas and 600–308 overall. He previously coached at George Mason, Providence and Clemson in his first 11 seasons before taking over at Texas in 1998.

“I’ve been fortunate and blessed,” Barnes said. “I became a head coach at a very young age. … I’ve never worked for anything but a great athletic director. I’ve had great support from players and coaching staffs.”

For Barnes, Wednesday’s win was much more important than the milestone since his team hadn’t won at home since Jan. 17. Before beating Kansas State, it had lost four straight to plummet down the Big 12 standings.

“Winning the game tonight was more important than [No. 600]”, Barnes said. “I still have faith and confidence in this group of guys. They deserve it.”

The Longhorns’ zone defense stifled the TCU offense all night long. The Horned Frogs struggled mightily to get anything going inside against Texas’ far superior frontcourt, forcing them to settle for low-percentage looks outside of the paint. TCU shot just 28.8 percent from the field and scored a paltry 16 points in the first half.

TCU didn’t have anyone to match up with junior center Cam Ridley, and Texas made a living off of feeding him the ball down low. He scored 15 points, his most in seven games, while racking up four blocks and a season-best 12 rebounds.

“The guards just looked for me throughout the game,” Ridley said. “I just tried to play as hard as I could on the glass, and obviously that worked well for me.”

The Longhorns didn’t just dominate down low, however. Felix led all scorers with 16 points after missing the last two games with a concussion. Yancy also enjoyed his most prolific game since the start of conference play, racking up 12 points and four rebounds.

After the game, however, Yancy was quick to switch the focus back to Barnes.

“He expects excellence out of everybody,” Yancy said. “He teaches us how to be self-disciplined and to be thankful for being at this University. He reminds us that we’re blessed to be here, and we shouldn’t take it for granted. … Just getting a relationship and getting to play for Rick Barnes — it’s an honor to play for him.”

With the win, the Longhorns improved to 16–8 on the season and 5–6 in conference play. They face another very beatable opponent at home Saturday in Texas Tech (12–13, 2–10 Big 12), before beginning a stretch of five consecutive games against ranked opponents.

If they can pile up some more wins during that rigorous stretch, Barnes and his players will have even more reason to dance.

With a win Wednesday night against TCU, head coach Rick Barnes would become the 13th active coach with 600 wins. As Texas keeps sliding in the rankings, this one has also become a must-win.
Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

When unranked Texas hosts TCU on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Frank Erwin Center, there will be plenty of story lines to follow.

Head coach Rick Barnes will be vying for his 600th victory. Senior forward Jonathan Holmes’ and junior guard Javan Felix’s availability to play will be a game-time decision after both missed Saturday’s contest with concussions. And from the team’s perspective, this is a must-win after playing their way onto the bubble of an NCAA tournament bid.

Texas (15–8, 4–6 Big 12) currently sits in eighth place in conference and will play the only two teams below them in the standings over the course of this week. They take on TCU (14–9, 1–9 Big 12) on Wednesday and Texas Tech (12–12, 2–9 Big 12) on Saturday, both at home and in games they need to win. After being ranked in the first 13 polls of the season polls of the seasons as high as No. 6, the Longhorns will play their first game as an unranked team.

Felix, who has missed the last two games with a concussion, and Holmes, who missed his first game of the season Saturday against Kansas State with the same injury, have not yet been cleared for the game. Felix has been cleared to practice, and, unless he shows any symptoms, will be cleared to play. Holmes has not been cleared for contact yet. 

Even while battling adversity, Texas was able to pull off a crucial 61–57 road win against Kansas State on Saturday to curb a four-game skid.

“Think about what we have dealt with this year,” head coach Rick Barnes said after the win at Kansas State. “We lost Isaiah [Taylor], Jon and Javan, not to mention the number of days in practice when we had to play with eight guys, nine guys.”

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber referenced Texas’ thin bench after the game.

“They played Jordan Barnett, who had not played much,” Weber said. “He did not get much done, but they used everyone.”

Texas was able to slow down Kansas State using a zone defense, and it doesn’t appear Barnes will be going back to man defense anytime soon.

“We are a long team. Our zone has been good,” Barnes said Saturday. “We have won four conference games, and we played zone every minute of those games with the exception of the last two minutes here today. Length is an important part about it, and it is just a big zone.”

If Texas beats TCU, then Barnes will become the 13th active NCAA Division I men’s coach to reach the 600-win milestone. In 28 seasons, which included stops at George Mason, Providence and Clemson, he currently owns a 599–308 record.

The game will be aired on the Longhorn Network.

Sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor scored 23 points in Saturday’s win over Kansas State. With the win, Texas ends its four-game losing streak and improves to 15-8 on the season.
Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

With senior forward Jonathan Holmes and junior guard Javan Felix both out with concussions, No. 25 Texas desperately needed someone to step up offensively in its game against Kansas State Saturday.

Sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor did just that, turning in one his best performances of the season to lead Texas to a 61–57 road victory over Kansas State and breaking the Longhorns’ four-game losing streak.

Taylor made a living near the basket, connecting on a series of layups and short jumpers on his way to a game-high 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Even when he wasn’t finishing from the field, Taylor succeeded in drawing foul after foul to get to the free throw line, where he went 11-of-15.

With 1:15 remaining in the game, the Longhorns led 57–50, but Kansas State tightened its deficit to two with under 30 seconds remaining behind a quick 7–2 run. Taylor missed two free throws with 0:25 remaining to give the Wildcats a final chance to tie or win the game, but senior forward Thomas Gipson couldn’t finish his late layup attempt, and Taylor redeemed himself with a pair of free throws to end the contest.

Given the temporary loss of Holmes and Felix, who had combined for 49 percent of the Longhorns’ 3-point makes coming into the game, Texas had to change its offensive approach. Instead of relying on shots from beyond the arc, as they had unsuccessfully done in recent contests, the Longhorns focused on getting shots near the basket.

Taylor was at the forefront of this offensive game plan, and he consistently weaved his way into the paint to get easy looks or draw fouls. Texas did an especially strong job of dominating inside in the first half, outscoring the Wildcats 14–2 in the paint before halftime. The Longhorns finished the game with a combination of eight dunks, layups and tip-ins.

Junior forward Connor Lammert and junior center Prince Ibeh both played major roles in the Texas victory. Lammert led the Longhorns with nine rebounds and went 3-of-6 from beyond the arc on his way to 12 points, and Ibeh contested shots near the basket all game and tied his season high with four blocks.

Behind Ibeh, Texas played far better on defense than it had during its four-game losing streak. In those four games, the Longhorns’ previously stout defense surrendered an eye-popping average of 78 points per game. On Saturday, the Wildcats struggled to find a rhythm against the Texas zone, shooting 31.9 percent while making just seven shots inside the 3-point arc.

With their victory, the Longhorns’ record improved to 15–8 on the season and 4–6 in conference play. They have a chance to continue making up ground in the Big 12 standings in the upcoming week, as they have a very winnable pair of home games coming up — against TCU on Wednesday and Texas Tech on Saturday.

Jonathan Holmes struggles to pass the ball out of a double team. With the loss, Texas’ Big 12 title hopes are in jeopardy.
Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

No. 19 Texas missed its first 12 shots. No. 20 Baylor made its first eight. From there, the Longhorns never made enough of a run to get back into the game.

The same issues that plagued Texas in its previous two games reared their ugly heads again on Saturday, as the Longhorns fell to the Bears in Waco, 83-60. The Texas big men struggled to make their presence felt against Baylor’s smaller frontcourt, while the defense did little to slow Baylor’s potent three-point barrage.

And now, with three straight losses, the Longhorns are wondering how to fix their bevy of issues.

“We’re just trying to figure out what we need to do to win games again,” senior forward Johnathan Holmes said.

Texas’ puzzling inability to exploit its size down low continued against the Bears. Freshman forward Myles Turner scored a career-low 2 points. Juniors Conner Lammert and Prince Ibeh combined for 0. And junior center Cam Ridley missed a series of easy lay-ups at the beginning the game that helped allow Baylor’s early lead to balloon.

The Longhorns attempted 26 three-pointers, making just five. Holmes was 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. Junior guard Javan Felix was 2-of-6. Turner, Lammert and sophomore guard Kendal Yancy went a combined 0-for-6.

But the Longhorns’ biggest problems were on defense. It didn’t even take four minutes for them to fall behind 12-0, and they trailed 21-9 by the time Baylor finally missed a shot at the 11:59 mark in the first half.

The Bears never let up. They shot over 48 percent from the field for the game, going 12-of-22 on three-point attempts.

“We just haven’t been good on defense,” Holmes said. “It doesn’t help when you’re not making shots on offense. It’s not good on both ends.

“It starts on defense,” Holmes added. “If you’re not making shots, the urgency on defense should be even higher. It starts on defense and we have to go from there.”

The loss dropped Texas to 3-5 in conference play, four games behind first-place Kansas. Chances at a Big 12 title appear increasingly unlikely with each loss, and while head coach Rick Barnes declined to say whether he believes his team has dug a hole for itself, he said he knows they need to turn things around.

“Where we are, we’ve got to turn it around,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “We got to win games. It’s simple. We’re not what we want to be. We’re not where we need to be. There’s a lot of basketball left. I think every night is going to be a challenge.”

Saturday’s 23-point loss was the worst of the season for the Longhorns, who have dropped four of their last six games after starting the season 10-1. Despite these struggles, Felix insisted after the game that nobody in the Texas locker room is giving up.

“We’re very frustrated,” Felix said. “No one likes losing. We’re down, but we’re not divided. We’re just going to stick together, and we’re going to get through this.”


Junior center Cam Ridley put up 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in Texas’ dominating win over the Horned Frogs on Monday night. Ridley has amassed 29 points and 10 rebounds over the past two games.
Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Maybe sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor was rusty; perhaps it was just a mid-season shooting slump. Either way, Taylor wasn’t quite himself in his first four games back after suffering a broken left wrist.

He bounced back from these offensive struggles in a major way Monday, leading the Longhorns in rebounds and assists to help guide No. 17 Texas to a 66-48 road victory against TCU.

Taylor scored 13 points, his most since returning from injury, while racking up seven rebounds and season-high six assists in the victory. He made six of his 12 shot attempts in the game after going just 10-of-40 from the field in his previous four games.

The Longhorns turned in one of their better offensive performances of the year, shooting 48 percent from the field while recording 16 assists as a team. Five different players scored at least 9 points in the game for Texas, while four players registered at least five rebounds.

Junior guard Javan Felix played a major role in the victory as well, leading Texas with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. It was the first time Felix shot above 50 percent from the field in a game since the Dec. 20 match against Long Beach State.

After dominating the paint on both sides of the ball against West Virginia on Saturday, the Texas frontcourt continued its hot play against the Horned Frogs. The Longhorn big men clogged the paint and forced TCU to take contested perimeter shots all game long, leading to the Horned Frogs’ 33.3 percent from the field.

Fresh off his season-best 19-point performance against West Virginia, junior center Cameron Ridley had another good game against TCU with 10 points, four rebounds and three blocks. Freshman forward Myles Turner tallied 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks in the game, and senior forward Jonathan Holmes added 9 points and six boards.

With the victory, the Longhorns improve to 14-4 on the season and 3-2 against Big 12 opponents. After winning their first game of conference play against Texas Tech, the Longhorns dropped back-to-back games against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in a span of five days, leading to concern from Texas fans about the state of the team.

They’ve since won each of their last two games in convincing fashion and are now on their first winning streak of conference play. The road only gets tougher, as their next two games are at home against No. 11 Kansas on Saturday and on the road against No. 9 Iowa State on Monday.

Sophomore guard Kendal Yancy was one of the few Texas players to have a good offensive performance in the Longhorns’ 63-53 win over UT-Arlington on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

The men’s basketball team found itself in a close one against a lower-ranked UT-Arlington team but pulled out a 63-53 victory in the end. Freshman forward Myles Turner led the Longhorns with an 18 point, 10 rebound double-double. Here are some notes from Tuesday’s game.

Javan Felix’s left foot

Near the end of the first half, junior guard Javan Felix went down and was slow to get up. The play continued as Felix lay on the ground clutching his left foot — the same one that caused him to miss the game against St. Francis last Tuesday. He walked off the court under his own power before being examined by the medical staff. He returned before halftime and appeared to be all right. Head coach Rick Barnes acknowledged that Felix is banged up but didn’t seem too concerned. He will go against Kentucky on Friday.

Texas’ poor 3-point shooting

Going 5-27 (18.5 percent) from deep may have cut it against a weaker UT-Arlington squad, but it won’t against Kentucky or the majority of the Big 12 teams on Texas’ schedule. Senior forward Jonathan Holmes connected on just 1-of-7. Felix only got 1-of-4. Those are Texas’ two best shooters. The shots weren’t contested, forced shots, either, as many of them were wide-open looks.

“We had so many wide-open shots,” Barnes said. “Some nights they don’t go in.”

Jordan Barnett and Damarcus Croaker struggle

The two wings have found themselves in Barnes’ doghouse. With a lesser opponent, UT-Arlington, in town, though, they got some minutes and did nothing to improve their chances of getting into the rotation. Barnett, a 6-foot-6 freshman wing forward, went 0-for-6 from the field in 8 minutes.  Barnett is still struggling to hit shots from the corner pocket — which was supposed to be his shot. Croaker splashed an early three then disappeared. He finished with a team-worst +/- of -7 in just 4 minutes, including a bad shot on 3-point heave that no one expected — drawing the ire of Barnes.

Kendal Yancy’s emergence

Sophomore guard Kendal Yancy is stepping up at just the right time. He was the most efficient Longhorn guard Tuesday night, notching nine points on 3-of-5 shooting in 30 minutes. His +17 was the best on the team as the offense seemed to thrive while he was playing. Since sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor went down, Yancy’s minutes have more than doubled, and he’s made the most of them.

Ridley’s disappearance

Starting junior center Cameron Ridley recorded only two rebounds against UT-Arlington in just 17 minutes. That’s two more rebounds than he got at UConn. He’s found his way to the bench, as Barnes goes to Turner more and more. Ridley’s disappearance isn’t a result of foul trouble either. Yes, UTA did have a smaller lineup on the floor, but Ridley still got three early touches deep in the post and didn’t do much with them.  

“He’s not confident right now,” Barnes said.