Young Texas team tries for win No. 2

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Men's Basketball Preview

J’Covan Brown shoots over a defender in Texas’ 82-46 win its season opener Sunday. The junior guard tied a career-high with 28 points.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Texas will try to get its second win of the young season in an afternoon showdown today against Rhode Island in the TicketCity Legends Classic.

The game will tip-off at 3 p.m., part of a 24-hour college basketball marathon that began Tuesday at midnight. 

Head coach Rick Barnes expects the Rams (0-1) to bring everything they’ve got to Austin.

“This game will be much different,” he said. “They’re big and they’re athletic, and they’re coming in to win.”

The Longhorns faced no problems schooling Boston on Sunday night, scoring 82 points and holding the Terriers to 46 points. Junior guard J’Covan Brown was named the Big 12 Player of the Week for his efforts in the blowout; the sharpshooter matched a career-high with 28 points and also had eight assists.

“J’Covan is crafty and very cerebral,” Barnes said. “He knows how to get open and set his man up as well.”

The game might be a good opportunity to see if anybody besides Brown can carry some of the scoring load. Freshman guard Julien Lewis showed some potential, making four three-pointers, and point guard Myck Kabongo did a good job managing the game.

“It was my first college game and I was taking strides to get better,” said Kabongo, who tallied seven assists and added six points.

Joining classmates Kabongo and Lewis in the starting lineup was Jonathan Holmes, a lanky freshman forward from San Antonio. Not only did the 6-foot-7 Holmes show nice prowess on the glass, but he also exhibited a rather unexpected shooting touch, making one 3-pointer as well as a mid-range jumper.

With the Longhorns trying to replace Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton, Gary Johnson, Cory Joseph and Dogus Balbay they’ll have to get key contributions from Kabongo, Lewis and Holmes, as well as Sterling Gibbs, Sheldon McClellan and Jaylen Bond, the other three freshmen. Against Boston, Gibbs and McClellan both hit a 3-pointer, and Bond added the game’s highlight — a one-handed slam on a fast break.

“Their freshmen were as good as advertised,” said Boston’s first-year coach Joe Jones.

Rhode Island, which counts Lamar Odom and Cuttino Mobley as alumni, took George Mason to overtime Saturday before falling, 92-90. Its leading scorer is senior guard Jamal Wilson, who poured in 38 points. Texas will have to have a body — or multiple bodies — on him at all times.

“We have to keep fighting as a unit,” Brown said. 

Printed on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 as: Horns looking for scoring threats to support Brown