It was revenge for No. 6 North Carolina and a sad dose of reality for the Longhorns who were undersized and outmatched in Wednesday night’s 82-63 loss.
Led by Harrison Barnes’ 26 point 10 rebound performance, the Tarheels controlled the entirety of the game with their size and experience en route to their fifth straight win while simultaneously exorcising the demons of last year’s loss to Texas (9-3). North Carolina built a double digit lead by way of a 13-1 run in the first half and never looked back.
The Tarheels’ defensive effort was what kept the game really out-of-hand for Texas. The Longhorns shot just 34 percent from the field and made only nine of 25 three point attempts. Texas’ scorers were nowhere to be found. J’Covan Brown, Jonathan Holmes, and Sheldon McClellan each finished with 16 points, but the rest of the team combined for only 15.
"We didn't put any pressure on them at all," Texas head coach Rick Barnes said. "We were just settling for threes. We shot 25 threes and had nothing in the mid-range game because we just didn't execute."
For the second game in a row, Barnes was not pleased with how his team began the game, which set a negative tone for the rest of it.
“The very first play of the game, we talking about for two days what we wanted to run, and we don’t run it,” he said. “. . .We’re not playing with a purpose on the offensive end. “
Another “major problem,” according to Barnes, was an issue that has he’s preached all season. Coming off its best rebounding performance against Temple, Texas regressed in this statistic. It pulled in less defensive rebounds (17) than the Tarheels’ offensive boards (22). UT was outrebounded 34-49 overall.
“We just have to play harder,” said freshman Myck Kabongo, who had just one point in 15 minutes. “The only thing I can take from this is that we’ve got to play harder.”
The Longhorns had won the last four meetings against the Tarheels, but the seemingly endless highlight-reel plays from the boys in blue prevented them from making it five. The Smith Center sounded like it was going to blow its top off during plays like Tarheel P.J. Hairston’s one-handed slam that knocked Julien Lewis to the floor.
The loss also marks the end of Texas’ seven-game win streak. The Longhorns have a bit of a break until they face Rice on New Years Eve at 1 pm in the Frank Erwin Center.