The Texas Longhorns beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 69-55, in the Maui Invitational. Texas finishes the tournament going 1-2, after losing its two previous games. Sheldon McClellan led all scorers with 19 points, going 4-5 from three point range. Julien Lewis chipped in 15 points, going 3-4 from beyond the arc. Mississippi State was led by Roquez Johnson (18 points, 6 rebounds) and Fred Thomas (10 points).
Texas pulled away from Mississippi State in the first half, going into the locker room up by 18. Texas dominated this game by doing two things very well. Texas protected the interior, blocking 12 shots. Freshman Cameron Ridley blocked five shot attempts, while fellow freshman Prince Ibeh blocked three. Ridley also grabbed 12 rebounds and scored 8 points. It was easily his best game of this new season. The second thing Texas did well in this game was hit its three point shots. Texas was 10-18 from long distance. Basketball becomes much easier when you knock down shots.
Turnovers are still a problem for Rick Barnes' team. Texas turned the ball over 22 times, including eight turnovers by Julien Lewis. It is a bit unfair to charge Lewis with all eight turnovers, as two of them came immediately after Lewis had stolen the ball near the sideline, as he stepped out of bounds. Demarcus Holland also turned the ball over four times. Holland played well defensively, but he really shouldn't be Texas' primary ball handler right now. Unfortunately, with Myck Kabongo still not able to play, Holland brings the ball up the floor when point guard Javan Felix goes to the bench.
For his part, Felix again played well, scoring seven points, dishing seven assists, and only turning the ball over twice.
Mississippi State isn't a very good basketball team right now, but this was still a good win for Texas, as Barnes' team started to work itself out of its offensive funk by running sets designed for McClellan.
One other thing we learned during today's broadcast: Mississippi State coach Rick Ray holds a degree in applied mathematics, and studied to become an actuary. Ray is probably one of the few basketball coaches who can tell you what an eigenvalue is, or who knows how to integrate by parts.
This is your post game discussion thread. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and give thanks that Sheldon McClellan found his jump shot.