AUSTIN (AP) — Jonathan Holmes ended up with an odd stat line in Monday night’s 89-61 win over Houston Baptist – 15 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two chipped teeth.
With about seven minutes left in the second half, Holmes dove for a loose ball and hit his face hard on the floor, knocking parts of two of his teeth loose. Holmes exited the game but not before scoring a game-high 15 points, helping Texas (4-0) win its first four games for the first time in four years in a blowout win over the Huskies (1-2).
“I made him smile in front of the whole team and show everybody how ugly he really looks,” Texas head coach Rick Barnes said.
Holmes wasn’t the only one smiling following the Longhorns’ most lopsided win of the year. For the first time this season, the Longhorns did not need a second-half comeback to pull out a victory.
“He looks different but he is doing alright,” Texas sophomore forward Connor Lammert said of Holmes. “That just shows what kind of player he is.”
Houston Baptist scored the first bucket of the game on a Cody Joyce jumper before Texas went on a 15-0 run during a four-minute span early in the first half. The Huskies missed 11 of their first 13 shots before going on a 10-2 later in the first half.
But Connor Lammert knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back Texas possessions as the Longhorns went into halftime with a 44-31 halftime lead. Three technical fouls were called in the first half – one on Huskies head coach Ron Cottrell and a double technical on Texas’ Cameron Ridley and Houston Baptist’s Dauson Womack.
Holmes was one of four Texas players to score in double figures. Javan Felix scored 14 points off the bench, Connor Lammert contributed 13 points and nine rebounds and freshman Martez Walker scored a career-high 10 points.
“He went as hard as he could,” Barnes said of Felix, who has scored in double figures in each of Texas’ four contests despite undergoing hip surgery last month. “He missed the entire preseason. He’ll work his back way into it. He’s not going to do it in two weeks. There’s no way. I liked his effort better tonight.”
Walk-on sophomore Danny Newsome capped the game’s scoring with a put back on the final possession of the game, allowing Texas to win by 28 points, its largest lead of the night.
The Longhorns, who won their first three games by a combined 20 points, spent most of Monday night’s game with a comfortable lead despite hitting only 18 of 40 free throws on the night. Ridley knocked down just 3 of 11 attempts from the charity stripe for the Longhorns, who made up for its struggles at the free throw line by connecting on a season-high 11 3-pointers.
“It was nice not having to come back, I will be honest,” Lammert said. “I think we kind of started out good and we kind of got comfortable, but in the second half we came back strong.”
Texas outrebounded Houston Baptist, 52-33, and blocked 11 shots, helping it to score 23 second-chance points and allow only nine second-chance points in the win. The Longhorns also got 53 points off their bench – two more than they got in their first three games this season combined.
“I thought Texas did a terrific job from the opening tip of taking the game right to us,” Cottrell said. “We did not handle how physical they were inside very well and it took us out of the game early. Our guys just physically were out-manned on the glass and, in particular, their offensive rebounding was the difference in the game.
The Longhorns travel to Kansas City for their next couple of games. Their win over Houston Baptist completed the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Regional Round. Texas faces BYU next Tuesday to begin the tournament’s championship round.
“We have some big games coming up,” Felix said. “It is important for us to improve and take practice seriously. We have to get tougher in order to be who we want to be.”
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