Jonathan Holmes scored 23 points, Cam Ridley posted another impressive double-double, and the Texas Longhorns basketball team won their third straight conference game in knocking off No. 8 Iowa State by a score of 86-76. Texas trailed 29-20 early in the game after struggling to control the boards and allowing Iowa State a number of second-chance looks, but from that moment on the Longhorns asserted their advantages in the paint, took control of the glass, and comfortably outscored the Cyclones the rest of the way.
After picking up two fouls within the first 6 minutes of each of the first three Big 12 games, Jonathan Holmes showed why it's so critical that he not play himself out of the game: the junior didn't pick up his first foul until late in the 2nd half and logged 31 minutes on the afternoon, keying Texas' victory with a couple of huge three pointers from the outside and a steady stream of scoring in the paint on drives and put-backs off missed shots.
As for Ridley, one of the things I noted in my scouting report of him coming out of high school was how dedicated he had proven to be in terms of working hard to improve, and that's precisely what he's done here at Texas, as well. After a forgettable freshman season and quiet start to the year, Ridley has emerged as a tremendously valuable force on the interior for Texas, punishing teams with a rapidly developing arsenal of offensive moves and a steady free throw stroke that allows him to stay on the floor.
With the win, Texas improves its season record to 14-4 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12, placed solidly within the Tournament field were the season to end today. The magic mark is still 9 conference wins and the schedule won't allow any room to coast, but this team just continues to improve as it continues to learn how to assert its strengths across a full 40-minute game.
A great win for what has thus far been a great season.