No. 7 Texas will look to take another positive step and stay unbeaten at home when it hosts gritty UT Rio Grande Valley on Friday in Austin, Texas, as the Longhorns conclude a five-game homestand.
The Longhorns (5-1) are on a roll after a 73-57 home victory over Sam Houston State on Monday, their fourth straight dominating win. Marcus Carr scored a season-high 19 points for Texas, which shrugged off an uneven first 17 minutes, swept to the front with a late-first half run and never looked back.
Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey added 14 points each for Texas (5-1) with Timmy Allen hitting for 12. The Longhorns hit 54.5 percent of their shots from the floor, including an 11-of-22 mark from beyond the arc, and set a season high in blocked shots (6) in the win.
“Let’s keep building on this, keep doing it,” Carr said. “Keep playing hard, keep playing for (the fans). We’re looking to build this thing to where we have one of the best home-court advantages in the Big 12 and in the country.”
Texas has eight players on the roster that averaged more than 10 points per game last year, including Carr, Allen, Jones, and Ramey. Every one of those players are scoring at below their averages from last year as the Longhorns continue to shuttle players in and out of the starting lineup and the team shares the ball among its myriad scoring options.
Carr’s offensive breakout came after the transfer from Minnesota had focused mostly on defense through the Longhorns’ first five games.
“A big part of the reason why I came here is because of coach (Chris Beard) and the staff and the accountability I knew they were going to hold me to and to be a better player,” Carr said. “A lot of that came on the defensive end. That’s definitely been a primary focus.”
UT Rio Grande Valley heads to Austin on the heels of an 83-77 loss at home to Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Wednesday. Justin Johnson led the Vaqueros with 33 points, with Marek Nelson adding 13 points in the loss.
The Vaqueros have played a demanding early-season schedule, with their earlier losses coming to Arizona, then-No. 14 Illinois (by nine points) and by two points to Northern Arizona. UT RGV avenged the latter defeat with a two-point win in Flagstaff.
“We’re trying to score the ball inside, play at the rim, shoot open 3s, share the ball,” UT Rio Grande Valley’s first-year coach Matt Figger said. “You know, we want to play fast tempo on the offensive side, and we want to make teams uncomfortable defensively. And we don’t want teams to score layups and 3s.”
Texas has faced UT Rio Grande Valley seven times and won each game, with the latest meeting a 91-55 home win last season.
–Field Level Media