AUSTIN, Texas — Following the felony arrest of head coach Chris Beard, the No. 7 Texas Longhorns took the court at the Moody Center on Monday evening in a matchup against the Rice Owls with associate head coach Rodney Terry serving as the acting head coach.
The Longhorns got off to something of a sluggish start considering the 22.5-point spread, according to DraftKings, as the Owls scored on their first three possessions and led 9-4 after a made three by guard Quincy Olivari. Texas guard Marcus Carr made a three to send the Horns into the under-16 timeout down 9-7 with both teams turning the ball over twice.
Both teams went into a scoring drought with Texas missing four straight shots as forward Christian Bishop picked up two quick fouls and went to the bench. Rice forward Max Fielder, who got off to a strong start with six points on 3-of-4 shooting and an assist, broke the scoreless stretch for the Owls before forward Dillon Mitchell did the same for the Longhorns on a short jumper. Mitchell added two free throws at the line to tie the game at 11-11 before Rice ended another scoreless drought with consecutive three-pointers to force a timeout by Terry.
Poor shooting continued for Texas after the break in the 1-for-8 stretch that remained scoreless for more than three minutes after forward Timmy Allen missed two free throws and then was called for a charge on a made bank shot in the lane, at which point Rice had a nine-point lead. When the Longhorns got into the bonus with 8:22 remaining, Allen split his trip the line, then forward Dylan Disu drew a foul after a 10-second violation by the Owls and made both of his attempt and Carr hit a three to force a timeout by Rice with 7:40 remaining and Texas trailing 20-17.
The Owls broke the run with a driving floater, but Allen quickly responded with a mid-range jumper, a blocked shot recovering on a back-door cut, and another jumper. With the Moody Center crowd finally engaged, Rice guard Mekhi Mason completed a three-point play to stem the Texas momentum and hit a three to push the lead back to six points and then to nine with another three. When Carr turned the ball over on a drive, the Longhorns trailed 30-21 at the under-four timeout.
A lob from Carr to Mitchell ended a three-minute scoreless drought for Texas after the break and Hunter barreled his way into the lane to force a shooting foul, but missed both free throws, and Rice countered with a three-point play. Guard Sir’Jabari Smith found MItchell for a short bank shot with the clock under two minutes in the first half and a steal by the athletic freshman forward forced an intentional by the Owls. Mitchell made both free throws and Texas took advantage of the extra possession when guard Brock Cunningham drew a foul and hit both attempts from the line, cutting the Rice lead to four points and bringing the crowd to its feet. With 15.2 seconds left, the Horns forced a travel with strong on-ball and help defense, but Hunter threw the ball away on a pick and roll to head to halftime down 33-29.
Thanks to nine offensive rebounds in the first half, Rice finished the opening 20 minutes with eight more shots than Texas and made three more three-pointers as the Longhorns shot only 2-of-10 from distance as five players missed from beyond the arc and only Carr had any made threes. And after the strong bench performance led by Bishop and Cunningham on Saturday, the Owls bench outscored the Longhorns 8-2, aided by Bishop’s foul trouble. But Texas did stay in the game by hitting 9-of-15 free throws with Rice making its only two attempts.
Allen started the second half with a turnover exacerbated by committing an immediate foul and Rice garb bed an offensive rebound on their first shot before Allen drew a charging foul. Another turnover by Allen didn’t result in any points for the Owls and the Texas super senior bounced back by finding Disu for a three. Disu picked up his third foul and went to the bench when Mitchell missed a reverse layup on a bounce pass from Allen in transition. Then Bishop picked up his third foul on the ensuing Rice possession with both free throws converted at the line. Carr hit a three to briefly take the first Texas lead of the game, quickly lost on a Rice layup, but Carr started to show signs of getting into rhythm by hitting a step-back jumper before committing a foul on an offensive rebound by the Owls and missing a layup. In transition, Hunter found Bishop for a dunk, forcing a Rice timeout with Texas up 39-36.
The Owls came out of the timeout hitting a driving layup, Carr responded with a floater in the lane, and the game went back into a timeout for the under-16 media break. With a 3-fo-4 shooting start to the second half, Carr scored seven of the first 12 points for the Longhorns out of halftime as the Owls opened 2-of-7 shooting.
A foul on Hunter that produced a three-point play gave the Horns five fouls in the first five minutes of the second half and tied the game. Hustling on a loose ball, Bishop produced an extra possession he turned into a layup and Mitchell drew an offensive foul. In a high-paced stretch, Carr hit a layup, Rice responded with a short jumper, and Texas guard Arterio Morris had a put-back basket flying in from the wing before a back-door cut produced a layup for the Owls. Then Rice drew a foul on a driving layup, but couldn’t convert the three-point play. After a quick 4-0 burst by the Owls, Bishop made another driving layup, taking advantage of Fiedler’s lack of mobility.
Rice came out of the under-12 timeout hitting a contested shot in the lane and then a three-point to retake the lead. On the other end, Texas couldn’t take advantage of three shots before a foul on Cunningham put the Owls into the bonus. After Rice missed the front end of the one and one, Allen hit a rare three prior to Bishop picking up a blocking foul, his fourth of the game. With Bishop on the bench, Cunningham picked off a pass intended for Fiedler and raced for a dunk, then Allen stepped into a mid-range jumper to give the Horns a four-point lead as Rice called a timeout.
Two jumpers from Allen sandwiched around a Rice made three, followed by a goaltend on Disu as the game remained close. A bad turnover by Carr led to a three by the Owls to tie the game and another to beat the shot clock. With a block on transition after a second bad turnover from Carr, Rice saved the Longhorns from going behind and Rice bounced back with his fourth three of the game. The defensive rebounding issues continued with a small lineup on the court and the Owls were set to head to the line following the under-four timeout thanks to a foul on Rice.
The Owls made both, rattling home the second, sending the game into crunch time with the Longhorns facing a two-point margin. Mitchell converted two at the line to tie it, but Carr was beat off the dribble and left without any help-side defense, then Allen was called for an offensive foul off the ball. After a defensive stop by the Longhorns, Call drew a foul, making both, and Rice finished at the rim in transition, but was called for a shooting foul as the Texas defensive intensity went up several notches. The Owls hit both free throws, tying the game with 1:32 remaining. Backing down a Rice defender, Carr drew another foul to earn a one-and-one chance at the line, but the veteran guard missed the front end. Hunter broke up a back-door cut to maintain the tie, Carr airballed a floater, but knocked a loose ball free and Mitchell recovered, but the shot clock expired.
With a chance for Rice to win the game Alem Huseinovic couldn’t hit his last-second jumper, sending the game into overtime.
On the first possession of overtime, Rice used his high-level pump fake to get into the lane for a layup and Cunningham’s steal led to another layup, this time by Carr in transition, prompting a quick timeout by the Owls.
Playing quickly off a missed jumper by the visitors, Rice drew a driving foul, ending the night for Rice’s Travis Evee after scoring 19 points. Rice missed the first before sinking the second. Hustle by Cunningham all the way across the court to force a missed three led to a hard-nosed rebound by Hunter going against Fiedler and Rice raced for another layup and a seven-point lead. Fiedler responded with a layup through contact, but missed his free-throw attempt. After a missed three by Hunter, Mitchell was called for a careless foul 90-plus feet from the basket, a true freshman mistake Rice only capitalized on with a single point.
Dribbling into the lane, Carr rattled home a jumper and the Longhorns came up with a big defensive rebound as multiple players battled with Fiedler for the ball in the paint. On another big drive from Rice, the New Mexico State transfer hit a sweet reverse layup for an eight-point lead and a desperation timeout by the visitors.
Fiedler quieted the Moody Center crowd with a layup, but the clock was under a minute and Texas was content to use it offensively as Rice opted against fouling. After a missed three by Hunter, the Owls scored quickly on a driving layup and then went into foul mode, sending Carr to the line. Carr floated home the first and the second, leading to another driving layup by Rice and another foul on Carr with 10.2 seconds remaining. Steady at the line, Carr hit both, leaving the Owls to take and miss two desperation threes at the clock ticked to zero on an 87-81 win for the Horns.
With eight points, including a 4-for-4 performance from the line, Carr led the Longhorns in overtime with an assist from the seven points scored by Rice. The two players combined for 15 points as Carr finished tied the game high with 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Allen added 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting to help the Longhorns overcome a 5-of-22 performance from distance.
Texas was also unable to slow down the recent hot streak by Rice guard Quincy Olivares, who followed up 27-point and 30-point performances with a 28-point effort against the Horns on 9-of-20 shooting. And although Fiedler scored 10 points with eight rebounds and seven assists, he finished minus-15 in 42 minutes.