Texas earned its first conference win of the season with a reassuring 73-57 victory over Texas Tech Saturday evening. The win snaps a five-game conference losing skid and moves the Longhorns overall record one win away from. 500 at 9-10. The loss drops the Red Raiders to 9-9 overall and 2-5 in conference play.
Four Longhorns scored in double figures, led by Julien Lewis with 18. Ioannis Papapetrou added 15 points to go along with a team-leading five assists. Demarcus Holland scored a career-high 11 points in 26 minutes, and despite having a tough night shooting from the field Sheldon McClellan contributed 10 points.
The Longhorns’ 46.3-percent field goal shooting is the best the team has shot in a conference game thus far and they were able to make 18-of-25 free throws (72-percent).
The Red Raiders were forced into turning the ball over 19 times, 14 of which came from Texas steals. The Longhorns converted 22 points off turnovers and only committed 10 turnovers in the game.
“The game plan for this game was to press and take time off the clock so when they pass half court they have less time to run their offense,” said Papapetrou.
Jonathan Holmes’ absence (hand) didn’t hinder the Longhorns from establishing strong post play in the game’s opening minutes as Cameron Ridley was able to get some good looks at the basket early on. The Red Raiders pulled down 17 offensive rebounds, but overall the Longhorns were able to keep the Red Raiders from getting open in the lane. Ridley recorded 10 rebounds including five offensive boards of his own as he continues to show improvement offensively. Texas scored 38 points in the paint.
“Their starting five is physically pretty strong,” Ridley said. “But we definitely wanted to take advantage of our size in the post.”
Texas led by as many as 19 points in the second half as was able to stave off another late game collapse, the kind of collapse that was beginning to become too familiar for the Longhorns.
“We aren’t a losing team so we don’t prepare to lose,” said Lewis. “From now on we just have to keep winning.”