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Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Texas men’s swimming and diving team added another accolade to its long list of titles this weekend, taking home its 11th NCAA title in Iowa City, Iowa.

From the first dive to the final wall touch, the Longhorns led the meet. The team dominated the competition, claiming the team title with 528 points. Last year’s NCAA champion, California, snagged second with 399 points and Michigan came in third with 312 points.

Texas head coach Eddie Reese, named CSCAA Swimming Coach of the Meet, and former Ohio State coach Mike Peppe now share the No. 1 ranking for most NCAA titles of all time. Reese is the only coach in swimming and diving history to win NCAA team titles in four separate decades.

“I’ve got 10 rings from winning 10 championships,” Reese said. “I have no clue where they are.” 

Reese said what matters to him is the individuals who make up his team.

“I know what every kid did and how much they improved,” Reese said. “Those are things that really matter. It’s always about people. The number of championships just means I’m old.”

Before the first preliminary rounds began Thursday, Texas, as a program, held NCAA titles in every swimming event except the 500-yard freestyle and the 400-yard individual medley. By the end of the meet, sophomores Clark Smith, in the 500-yard free, and Will Licon, in the 400-yard individual medley, had both earned first-place times, rounding out Texas’s record sheet. 

In the 400-yard individual medley, Licon defeated Georgia junior Chase Kalisz, the national record-holder in the event, with a time of 3:36.37. Smith’s first place finish in the 500-yard free contributed 20 points to his team’s total.

“Clark Smith didn’t even make this meet last year, [and this year], he won an event,” Reese said. “That just doesn’t happen. I can’t make that happen. He made that happen.”

Freshman and London Olympian Joseph Schooling also made a great deal happen. Schooling helped make program history when the Longhorns qualified six swimmers, an NCAA record, in the 100-yard butterfly preliminaries for the championship final. Previously, no school had ever sent more than four swimmers to a final in any event at the NCAA Championships.

Schooling became the first ever Longhorn to sweep the 100- and 200-yard butterfly at the NCAA Championships and the first Texas swimmer in general to earn a title in both events.

“To swim my first championship season with these guys, with Eddie [Reese] and Chris [Scheaffer] and have so much success off the bat means a lot to me, and I’m excited for the next few years,” Schooling said.

While Schooling has another three years with the Longhorns, the 2015 NCAA Championships marked the last time Texas’ seniors would compete as Longhorns.

“I am still waiting for someone to wake me up right now,” senior Kip Darmody said. “I don’t think the meet could have gone any better for us. Sacrificing many Saturday nights and giving it my all every day, day in and day out, it’s surreal. Like I said, I am still waiting for someone to wake me up — it’s something special.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race over Twitter on Sunday and in a speech at Liberty University in Virginia on Monday.

Cruz is the first major candidate to announce his candidacy. Since he represents the second most-populated state in the country, Texas, Cruz is a major candidate in the current Republican race, according to government professor Sean Theriault.

“Dr. [Ben] Carson has never won an election in his life,” Theriault said, referencing another potential candidate for the Republican primary. “That doesn’t mean that he has no chance, just that he’s never demonstrated that he knows how to put a winning campaign together. Senator Cruz knows how to do that.”

Such an early announcement gives Cruz a short-term advantage, Theriault said. University Democrats president Michelle Willoughby disagreed.

“Announcing early officially isn’t an advantage,” Willoughby said. “What matters more is starting early in the early states like New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, and, in that game, Cruz is significantly later than several other [Republican] contenders who have been spending a lot of time in the early states.”

Cruz, a Texas junior senator, has been under some scrutiny regarding his eligibility to run for and/or serve as president. Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother, who is from Delaware, is a natural-born citizen. 

Cruz formally renounced his Canadian citizenship last May and claims he is natural-born through his mother.

Theriault said people questioning Cruz’s citizenship have no grounds for their worries.

“These questions about citizenship are ridiculous — not quite as ridiculous as the questions about Obama’s citizenship, but close,” Theriault said. “His mother is a naturalized citizen.”

Bridget Guien, College Republicans communications director, agreed with Theriault.

“Senator Cruz’s birthplace should not affect his eligibility to run for president,” Guien said. “He is a natural-born citizen and holds the right to run for the presidency.”

Cruz is serving his first term in the U.S. Senate. He defeated then-Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the 2012 election by a 14-point margin. 

Theriault said Cruz’s limited time in federal government might not affect his abilities to serve, citing President Barack Obama’s victory after one term in the Senate.

“Ask Barack Obama the same question,” Theriault said. “He was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and, four years later, became president. Cruz would follow the same path.”

Willoughby said Cruz’s political résumé concerns her, calling him the “most extreme candidate considering running.”

“He isn’t polling well, he has alienated many in the GOP leadership and the general Republican voters with his grandstanding, and he is likely to have issues even with the groups that supported him in his campaign for Senator with a more crowded field,” Willoughby said. “These factors mean Cruz winning the primary is pretty unlikely.”

Theriault has more faith in Cruz’s abilities to persevere in the presidential race.

“For the Republicans in 2016, it all comes down to how the other candidates collapse,” Theriault said. “If the hard-right candidates fall like flies, and Cruz wins Iowa, he could have some longevity, especially if Bush has some competition from the ‘establishment’ wing of his party.”

The College Republicans do not officially endorse anybody in the primaries because the group is an auxiliary of the Republican Party.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

The moment you step inside Madison Square Garden for the first time, you get it.

Nestled in the heart of New York City, the place is unlike any other. There’s an undeniable buzz that engulfs the arena regardless of who is playing between its walls.

From Michael Jordan to Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali to George Harrison, the greatest performers always seemed to save their best acts for the Garden. There’s a reason they call it “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

And on Thursday and Friday nights, under the brightest lights in America’s most iconic city, the Longhorns made themselves right at home and proved they deserve their preseason billing as one of the nation’s top teams.

After a shaky opening in the first game, No. 10 Texas dominated for three halves to clinch the 2K Classic championship — its first November neutral-site tournament title since 2009.

Aside from their early issues Thursday, the Longhorns thrashed Iowa and California. It wasn’t exactly the “Murderers’ Row” of opponents, but each is a quality,
power-conference team nonetheless. Iowa is projected to be one of the better teams in the Big Ten, and California easily brushed No. 23 Syracuse aside Thursday night.

All offseason, Texas fans heard how good the Longhorns would be this year, and now there is tangible evidence. Texas’ two blowout wins in Austin against North Dakota State and Alcorn State to open the season showed little. But in their trip to New York, the Longhorns passed their first major test of the season and proved they’re a step above three of college basketball’s better teams.

Syracuse played in what were essentially two home games in front of the New York City crowd. Iowa, too, had a significant fan base in the stands for each of its games.

But in the arena in which the great Billy Joel continues to hold concerts each month, it was the Longhorns that had a “New York State of Mind,” leaving teams buzzing about Texas’ size and depth.

“I don’t know if there is any other front line in college that can match that,” California senior forward David Kravish said of the Texas big men.

Perhaps most significant was that Texas managed to win the tournament even without its best player, sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor, on the court for the title game. Taylor went down with a wrist injury Thursday, but junior guard Javan Felix filled in admirably with 9 points and four assists in 35 minutes to keep the offense rolling.

This is the Longhorns’ first season start with four consecutive victories of more than 10 points since the 2009-10 season. That season, Texas began the year 17-0 before slumping to a final record of 24-10 and losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament. But the Longhorns have far higher aspirations this year.

The legendary Frank Sinatra summed up New York best with his lyric, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”

The Longhorns made it there. Now, it’s time to see whether Sinatra was right about everywhere else.

Sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor will miss tonight’s game after suffering an injury to his left wrist on Thursday against Iowa.

Taylor sustained the injury after receiving a hard foul from Iowa senior center Gabe Olaseni and landing on his wrist late in the second half.

He didn’t express much concern after the game, but according to, Taylor could miss several weeks.

"It looks like he's going to be out for several weeks," a source told ESPN. "But it's not season-ending."

Taylor leads the Longhorns with 15.0 points per game. He averaged 12.7 points as a freshman last season

Senior forward Jonathan Holmes drives to the net during Texas’ win against Iowa in New York City. Holmes and the Longhorns produced a dominant second half to claim their third-straight win of the season.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

NEW YORK CITY — Senior forward Jonathan Holmes accepted much of the blame for the Longhorns’ first-half struggles against Iowa.

But he also deserved most of the credit for the team’s second-half turnaround.

Holmes opened the second half with a dunk, a three-pointer and an and-one lay-in on Texas’ first three possessions to overcome a shaky first half and lead the Longhorns to a 71-57 victory over Iowa at Madison Square Garden.

After scoring just two points on 1-for-4 shooting in the first half, Holmes went 6-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-5 from behind the arc, after halftime to finish with a team-high 19 points.

“My teammates were looking for me and doing the things we did in practice,” Holmes said. “We started executing, and we were able to get a lead.”

This didn’t stop Holmes from being disappointed in the way he started the game, however, and he said the team’s first-half issues began with him.

“I think it starts with me,” Holmes said. “Being the oldest guy on the team, I wasn’t as aggressive as I should’ve been. I was a little tentative, and I started slow, and, as a result, I think we all started slow.”

The Longhorns connected on just 10-of-31 shots while turning the ball over nine times in the first half. They were just 2-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc, and, despite limiting the Hawkeyes to 25 percent shooting form the field in the first half, they trailed 30-24 at halftime.

Luckily for Texas, Holmes broke out of his slump and helped energize the stagnant Texas offense. The Longhorns shot 60.7 percent from the field after halftime and made 4-of-7 three-point attempts.

They cashed in on seven of their first eight shot attempts in the second half, and, after taking a 45-43 lead on sophomore guard Kendal Yancy’s lay-in with 13:40 remaining, they never looked back.

Sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor also overcame a rough first half to finish the game with 15 points. After shooting just 1-for-7 in the first half, Taylor connected on each of his four attempts in the second half.

“It was something I had to get over,” Taylor said of his first-half struggles. “Just maturing as a point guard and maturing as a leader on this team and not letting the first half affect me.”

Freshman forward Myles Turner had the quietest game of his short Texas career, turning in just five points after scoring in double figures in each of his first two games. Junior guard Javan Felix enjoyed his best game of the season, scoring 11 points while grabbing four rebounds.

Despite their early struggles against Iowa, the Longhorns came away with a win in their first true test of the season and will play for a 2K Classic championship Friday.

“We’ve got a big game tomorrow night that we’re just focusing on,” Holmes said. “That’s the biggest thing on our minds right now.”

Sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor dribbles toward the hoop during Texas’ contest against Iowa at Madison Square Garden, where the Longhorns overcame first-half struggles.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

NEW YORK CITY — It was a tale of two halves at Madison Square Garden. Iowa came out ready, opening up a double-digit first-half lead. But the Longhorns dominated the second half, outscoring the Hawkeyes by 20 en route to a big win. Here are five things that stood out for Texas — both good and bad:

Offensive adjustments

In the first half, the Texas offense became predictable against the zone, as it looked to “run its offense.” While the bigs were jockeying for position in the post, the guards seemed to enjoy the meaningless passes around the perimeter. Even worse, they were neither ready to shoot nor ready to drive. Because of this, Iowa was able to come up with seven steals in the first half. But the second half was a different story. Head coach Rick Barnes pushed for more drives, and that’s what he got, as sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor and the Texas offense became more aggressive.

Failure to feed the post

All preseason and through the first two games, the Longhorns talked about the confidence and improvement in this team’s outside shooting. That confidence showed, as the Longhorns let 17 shots fly from downtown. Iowa packed in its zone and dared the Longhorns to shoot. Instead, junior center Cameron Ridley attempted just four shots. Freshman forward Myles Turner got few touches down low and in the high post. 

“We got to put it in there,” Barnes said after the contest.

Dominant defense

The Hawkeyes came in as a fast-paced, offensive team that averaged 88.5 points through their first two games. But Texas shut them down, using seven blocks to hold Iowa to a 29.6 shooting percentage. In the second half, when stops were a must, the Longhorns clamped down. Iowa managed to make only 16 field goals in the game. Junior guard Demarcus Holland led the Longhorns on defense, giving fits to Iowa all game — not just with on-the-ball defense but with off-the-ball as well.

Holmes leads his team

Senior guard Jonathan Holmes’ eight straight points in the second half quickly brought Texas back after a sluggish start. While Taylor was impressive in the second half, Holmes was the one who stepped up when the team needed to make a shot. He may not be the flashiest player on the team, but his fundamentals are sound, and he rarely gets fazed by the moment. Even when things are going wrong, he takes responsibility by showing how much calmer and more collected he is than anyone else out there on the floor. And his line showed that, as he went 7-for-12 with 19 points while also hauling in five rebounds. 

Too many fouls

From day one, Barnes was adamant about his team needing to play good defense without fouling. On Thursday, however, they kept fouling. The Longhorns committed 22 fouls and allowed Iowa to take 28 free throws. Even though Iowa struggled from the field, making just 16 field goals, it was able to stay in the game from the charity stripe. 

Senior outside hitter Haley Eckerman, an Iowa native, tallied 14 kills and four digs against Iowa State on Sunday to help the Longhorns record their eighth conference win of the season.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

After Oklahoma snapped Texas’ 23-game Big 12 winning streak Oct. 25, the No. 5 Longhorns returned to conference action Sunday and defeated Iowa State 3-1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-13, 25-14) in Ames, Iowa.

“I thought it was a good situation for us to be in,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “This is a tough gym, and we were a little uncomfortable at first. … After the break, we kind of calmed down and found our unit and groove and played a lot better.”

The Longhorns were able to settle down thanks to solid play by senior outside hitter Haley Eckerman and junior outside hitter Amy Neal. Neal had 14 kills and 16 digs in her first game since Kansas State on Oct. 18. Eckerman, a Waterloo, Iowa, native, recorded 14 kills and four digs in a homecoming game. Elliott said he liked Eckerman’s play against the Cyclones.

“This is her home state, and I know she had a big crowd here tonight,” Elliott said. “She wanted to play extremely well. Her game is continually improving as the season goes along, and it’s great.”

Eckerman started her dominating performance early with seven kills in the first set. The Cyclones managed to keep the set close throughout, but Texas was able to separate itself from Iowa State after a 9-9 tie, and although the Cyclones tried to fight their way back into the set, Eckerman and the Longhorns pulled off a 25-21 win.

The second set was a different challenge, as the Longhorns committed a handful of errors early in the set that allowed the Cyclones to build a 15-13 lead. The errors set the tone for the Longhorns, who were unable to recapture the lead and lost the set 20-25.

“We were still pressing a lot, trying to find our rhythm and making a lot of errors [in the second set],” Elliott said.

The Longhorns, however, were able to find their rhythm in the third set, as they jumped out to an early 5-2 lead and never looked back. Texas took the third set, 25-13, and took a commanding 2-1 game lead.

With momentum on their side, the Longhorns came out strong in the fourth set, taking a 9-3 lead. Texas finished the set on a 7-2 run and won the set, 25-13, and the game, 3-1.

Alongside Eckerman and Neal’s performances, sophomore middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu recorded 11 kills and tied her career-high in blocks with nine. Freshman libero Cat McCoy posted a team-high 19 digs. Texas also out-blocked the Cyclones, 30 to eight, as junior middle blocker Molly McCage and sophomore outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame blocked seven a piece.

The Longhorns will return to action against Texas Tech in Lubbock at 6 p.m. Wednesday.


Advantage: Iowa State

Signal-caller Sam Richardson brings some much needed stability to a Cyclone program that has had its fair share of quarterback issues. The redshirt junior is a strong pocket passer, but he is not afraid to take off running, as evidenced by his team-leading 283 rushing yards. 

Tyrone Swoopes looked like a star at times in the Red River Showdown. The sophomore made quick reads, zipped tight spirals down the sidelines and made plays with his legs. He can still be frustratingly inaccurate, but his stellar fourth quarter performance should have Texas fans excited to see what Swoopes has in store for the future.


Advantage: Texas

Malcolm Brown was given the brunt of the carries against Oklahoma, and the senior responded with some fantastic second efforts, which led to a respectable 4.1 yards per carry. Junior Johnathan Gray has shown flashes this season but has struggled to consistently run for decent gains.  

The Cyclone backs have consistently underwhelmed this season. Redshirt junior DeVondrick Nealy and senior Aaron Wimberly combine to average 3.2 yards per carry, and their longest run on the season tops out at 16 yards. Head coach Paul Rhoads has expressed confidence in his backs and shifted the blame to his linemen.


Advantage: Texas

Swoopes relied heavily on senior John Harris early on this year, suggesting that junior Marcus Johnson and senior Jaxon Shipley had fallen off. But the trio had its best game as a unit last week, with each receiver notching a reception of 32 yards or more and hauling in at least 90 receiving yards.

Redshirt senior Jarvis West is the Cyclones’ go-to option for big plays, but true freshman Allen Lazard has emerged as the most consistent performer for this unit. Lazard has already accrued a team-high 304 receiving yards, the 11th best mark in the nation for a rookie. Senior tight end E.J. Bibbs could win All-Big 12 honors, and his four touchdown receptions lead the team.


Advantage: Texas

Offensive line coach Joe Wickline’s magic touch looks like it is slowly getting to the Texas front five. They did not appear phased by Oklahoma’s confusing 3-4 pass rushes, and they opened up wide running lanes against one of the toughest run defenses in the country. Penalties are becoming a real problem, however.

Senior center Tom Farniok is the rock in the middle of the offensive line. However, any head coach is quick to point out the offensive line has to be evaluated as a unit. Farniok’s cohorts have struggled overall. The Cyclones have ceded 13 sacks, and their rushers are averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.


Advantage: Texas

Senior defensive end Cedric Reed has shown signs of life recently, but he needs to start getting to the quarterback if he wants to revive his draft stock. Defensive tackles — sophomore Hassan Ridgeway and junior Malcom Brown — have held their own against some of the best inside running teams in the country.

The Cyclone defensive line’s struggles have allowed opposing rushers to pick up 212 yards per game, but it makes up for some of that by getting solid pressure on the quarterback. Senior defensive end Cory Morrissey has already recorded four sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss.  


Advantage: Texas

It’s hard to believe this unit is the same one that was embarrassingly inept against the run in Texas’ contest with BYU, as well as in most contests last season. Some harsh words from defensive coordinator Vance Bedford may have hit the mark. Senior outside linebacker Jordan Hicks has been particularly brilliant in recent weeks.

Senior mike linebacker Jevohn Miller is the best player in a unit that has struggled against the Big 12’s high-octane attacks. Miller’s 10.2 tackles per game are third best in the Big 12, but he will have to start making those a lot closer to the line of scrimmage in order to upset the Longhorns at home.


Advantage: Texas

The Longhorn secondary has been shooting down opposing air attacks. Oklahoma threw for just 129 yards, and Bryce Petty, Baylor’s senior quarterback and supposed Heisman candidate, could only muster 111 yards through the air. The safeties have been shaky at times, but the corners — senior Quandre Diggs and junior Duke Thomas — have bailed them out with solid man-to-man coverage.

The Iowa State secondary has held opponents to 234.3 passing yards per game despite having faced some of the best offenses in the nation. The Cyclones have forced four interceptions in their last four contests, and cornerbacks — junior Sam Richardson and sophomore T.J. Mutcherson will be looking for more against the Longhorns’ short passing game.


Advantage: Iowa State

Redshirt senior Jarvis West can wreak havoc in the return game. West is averaging 23.6 yards per punt return, including an 82-yard score against Kansas State. Redshirt sophomore kicker Cole Netten is a consistent 15-for-16 inside 40 yards in his career and has yet to miss a kick this season.

Missed field goals are irritating, and junior Nick Rose has shanked them in bountiful numbers. Texas needs every point it can get when its offense is sputtering. Kick return touchdowns, field goal block returns for touchdowns and bone-headed kick catch interference penalties have cost Texas the chance to upset a few of the nation’s best teams.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Sunday night, freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis did something she hasn’t done often this season — give up the eventual game-winning grand slam in a relief appearance, as the Longhorns fell to Iowa 6-5.

But Monday night, Davis was on a mission in the circle, striking out nine batters and holding the Hawkeyes to one hit as Texas won its first series of the year with a 3-0 win.

“She wants the ball,” head coach Connie Clark said. “It’s just about getting her consistent and dealing with scenarios like that.”

Davis came out firing to start the game, striking out four of the Iowa’s first seven batters. 

Iowa (5-12) threatened Texas in the top of the third inning as the first two runners reached base for the top of the Hawkeye lineup. But Davis got a fly out to center, a strikeout and a ground out to get out of the jam. In the fourth, Davis fired back, striking out all three batters in the frame, keeping batters off balance with a mix of fastballs and off speed pitches.

Davis, who improved to 7-7 this season and leads the team with a 2.36 ERA, also worked around bit of a jam in the fourth with two on and one out for her 10th complete game and first career shutout. She said she trusts her defense when she gets in those tough situations.

“Usually me and Mandy [Ogle] have a head nod or something, and it reminds me to relax and just throw the ball and trust my defense,” Davis said.

The Longhorns (18-14), who have struggled to take advantage of scoring opportunities this season, struck in the first inning when sophomore right-fielder Lindsey Stephens got the offense going with a two-out triple. Then, with the bases loaded, sophomore designated-hitter Holly Kern ripped a double to left-center field to score the first two runs of the game.

Kern said she benefited from Davis’ 11-pitch at bat right before she stepped to the plate.

“Coming into the at bat, I was like, ‘She had a really good at bat, so I’m going to get a hit for her’,” Kern said. “It felt really good to score some runners.”

In the next inning, the Horns added another run when senior center-fielder Brejae Washington hit a two-out triple to left-center to score senior catcher Mandy Ogle.

Meanwhile, for Iowa, senior pitcher Kayla Massey settled down after the first two innings. Despite allowing nine hits, Massey kept Texas off the board in the last four innings, including pitching out of a bases loaded situation in the sixth inning.

Texas will get one last non-conference game Wednesday night against Houston before opening up Big 12 play at Waco on Saturday and Sunday.

After a well-earned bye week, the No. 5 Longhorns begin their first postseason as a combined program with the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames, Iowa.

At this point in the season, individual times take a back seat to the ultimate goal of beating the competitor in the next lane.

“I feel heading into the conference meet that we are right where we need to be,” first-year head coach Mario Sategna said. “We’re going in there not worrying about time, distances, performances. It’s about beating people head-to-head.”

Texas faces tough competition, including No. 12 Texas Tech and host No. 20 Iowa State. But with the top 4x400 meter relay team in the nation and junior pole vaulter Kaitlin Petrillose — who looks to claim her third-straight conference title — the Longhorns possess the tools necessary to outperform their competitors and bring home a conference championship.