Texas hasn’t made the second half easier on itself this season, but the Longhorns have still come up clutch. Texas showed yet another example of that Friday evening.
Texas (6-1) trailed by as many nine points in the second half, but charged late with a 14-1 run to snag a 65-61 lead at the 4:54 mark. The Mavericks (2-6) played tough the rest of the way, but the Longhorns endured for their fourth second half comeback-victory of the season.
“They’re teaching me some character,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “I’m about ready to kill them sometimes because I watch them play. But I know they’re a great bunch of guys and they want to plan … We have to do our work early, which we didn’t do.”
Sophomore guard Demarcus Holland made the biggest play of the game when he ripped the ball away from Reger Dowell and charged down court for a two-handed dunk. It gave Texas a 70-69 lead with 1:03 left. He also had a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.
“Demarcus Holland, what can I say?” Barnes said. “He’s really everything you want in a player. He’s really become the leader of the team. He’s talking like a leader should talk.”
Sophomore center Cameron Ridley recorded his third double-double of the year for the Longhorns with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also played a career-high 37 minutes, showing improved conditioning since he arrived at Texas at 312 pounds. He’s now listed at 280.
“He’s worked at it,” Barnes said. “He’s gotten himself in better condition. … Cam really has improved. If you put time in, you should expect good things and his confidence should grow.”
Ridley and the Longhorns will face Vanderbilt (4-2) Monday at the Frank Erwin Center in what will be Texas’ stiffest early-season test.