AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Men's Basketball team earned a 73-57 victory against Texas Tech on Saturday night. UT's first league victory of the season came in, perhaps, the Longhorns' most complete game of the year.
Freshman post Cameron Ridley set the tone for the Longhorns and helped them build a first-half lead with strong, inside play at both ends of the court. All six of his points came on three field goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, with two baskets coming on effective post moves and one on an inbounds play where he slipped a screen and finished the play with a dunk. By the end of the first half, UT owned an 24-6 advantage in points in the paint.
Ridley also pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds and added three blocked shots for the Longhorns.
"Cam [Ridley] definitely set the tone that we wanted early with his effort and his intensity inside," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "We kept talking about putting the ball inside and putting pressure on people in different ways."
Freshman guard Javan Felix led by example for Texas with his energy and effort on the defensive side of the ball. UT finished the game with five blocks and a season-high 14 steals while forcing 19 Red Raider turnovers.
"I told Javan after the game that this was his best game since he got here," Barnes said. "He did what we wanted him to do defensively, even though he picked up a foul early. I thought he was out there really trying to defend."
Fellow freshmen Demarcus Holland and Ioannis Papapetrou also stepped up defensively. Holland had three steals and one block, and Papapetrou added two steals and four rebounds. Each player was also scored in double figures. Holland posted a career-high 11 points, while Papapetrou had 15 points and five assists without a turnover.
"Demarcus came in and was really good. I think what helps Demarcus in that situation is having Papi [Papapetrou] back there, who handles the ball and can help bring it down," said Barnes. "Papi had a great game. He had five assists, and he didn't have any turnovers. He had two steals. He shot the ball well."
What was perhaps most impressive Saturday was how the Longhorns finished the game. When Texas Tech got within eight points with seven minutes to go, the Longhorns responded with a 9-0 run to expand their lead to 16 points.
With the win Saturday, Texas has now won 17 straight home games over the Red Raiders. In addition, the Longhorns have won nine straight and 16 of the last 17 meetings against Texas Tech.
"It feels good. We aren't a losing team, so we don't prepare to lose. We prepare to win every game we play, and we come out like it's our last game of the season," said sophomore guard Julien Lewis, whose aggressive offensive mindset produced a game-high 18 points.. "From now on, we just have to keep winning. We weren't thinking about the losing streak coming into today. We were only thinking about winning tonight. Now we need to use this and put together a winning streak."
Perhaps Texas Tech Interim Head Coach Chris Walker said it best after Saturday's game.
"Texas has lost some tough games. You cannot just look at their record. They have played Michigan State, UCLA and others," Walker said. "They have played some good teams, and they have played them tough. They have lost some games in conference. You cannot look at their record and say anything negative about them, but that they are bunch of young guys."