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November 18, 2013

Longhorns Dominate HBU 89-61

The schedule is about to get a lot tougher, and in what was their easiest test of the young season the Longhorns (4-0) dominated Houston Baptist 89-61 Monday night. Texas got contributions from everyone against the Huskies (1-2), and it was a chance to get some younger players some much-needed experience before things ramp up.

The Longhorns jumped out to a 20-5 lead before the 12-minute mark in the first half, and it allowed the Longhorns to get the trio of Martez Walker, Kendal Yancy, and Damarcus Croaker some much-needed, lengthy run on the floor. Yancy actually started in Javan Felix's normal spot as Felix, a player Rick Barnes has repeatedly mentioned needs a break in his minutes as he works back into shape, played just 17 minutes. The trio combined to play 53 minutes and scored 26 points. All three displayed their ability to knock down the three-pointer (5-of-10) and provide highlight dunks in transition.

"We needed a game like this to get those freshmen out there," Barnes stated after the win.

Texas' improved ball movement and spacing against Houston Baptist showed. As a team, Texas dished out 18 assists after just five the previous game, and turned it over just nine times. Connor Lammert (13 points on 4-of-5 shooting and nine rebounds) and Jon Holmes (15 points on 7-of-14 shooting with six rebounds) were especially impressive working near the free-throw line because of their ability to put it on the floor, pass to the perimeter or down low, and face up to score.

"Much better," responded Barnes when asked about the spacing on offense. "We weren't very good offensively the other night. We talked about it and we had a hard practice yesterday and the biggest thing we spent time on was with that - our transition and getting our spacing. Then we spent time on transition defense and really tried to communicate more on the defensive end in terms of scramble situations. Again, our guys, the things we asked them to do, they did."

Holmes' performance tonight might have been the perfect example of what he is to the Longhorns. He led the team in scoring, grabbed a lot of rebounds, dished out three assists, had three blocks, made a couple of steals, and chipped two of his front teeth.

Yes, in a 21-point game with 6:57 left in the second half, the junior dove to the floor for a loose ball at midcourt and hit the hardwood hard.

"Well, I think it speaks volumes about him. We're up by 21 points and he goes on the floor and knocks two teeth not out, but he chipped two teeth. I made him smile in front of the whole team to let them see what ugly really looks like," said Barnes about Holmes with a laugh. "But what can you say about him? He goes at it the entire time. He'll be all right."

There's no doubt that Holmes always brings the effort each night, and no doubt the junior is a leader for Texas.

The Longhorns return to action on Monday at 6:30 PM (ESPNU) against BYU in Kansas City in the Championship Round of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. To read our 10 immediate thoughts after the HBU win, click here.

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