No. 19 Texas welcomes Rice on Wednesday in Austin, and the Longhorns are fixed on repairing early turnover issues.
The Longhorns (2-0) are home for a third consecutive game to start the season, which includes a workmanlike 86-59 win over visiting Delaware State on Friday. Max Abmas scored 19 points and Dylan Mitchell added 14 points and took 11 rebounds as Texas shrugged off a slow start and asserted itself over the final 10 minutes.
“It’s only going to continue to get better,” Abmas said of the team’s play. “You know, what is it, the second game? We’re continuing to get that chemistry.”
The Longhorns (2-0) led by nine points at halftime and were up just 57-50 with 10:13 to play. A 20-1 run dispelled any notion of a comeback for Delaware State.
Ithiel Horton added 18 points for Texas while Tyrese Hunter had 13. The Longhorns shot 58.6 percent from the floor in the second half and hit 12 of its 22 3-pointers in the game.
Hunter has a team-high nine turnovers and the Longhorns have 33 giveaways in two games. Mitchell has five.
“We were just too casual taking care of the basketball, whether it was coming up the floor or attacking the pressure,” Texas coach Rodney Terry said. “We have the guards, and we’ll continue to get better with that as the season goes on.”
Mitchell said the Longhorns had a different mentality in the second half in the first two games.
“I just think our energy, having a different type of energy, having a different type of mindset coming out,” Mitchell explained.
Texas dropped from one spot in the Top 25 poll released Monday despite the two wins last week. The Longhorns will head to NYC to play Louisville in the Empire Classic beginning Sunday.
The Owls (1-1) head to Austin to face their former Southwest Conference rivals after an 89-76 loss at home to Harvard on Friday. Rice (1-2) allowed the Ivy Leaguers to shoot 53.3 percent from the floor in the setback.
Rice rallied from an 18-point deficit to take the lead, midway through the second half but Harvard closed the game on a 25-12 run to seal the Owls’ fate. Rice hit just 41.7 percent of its field goals in the loss.
Mekhi Mason paces the Owls with 20 points on Friday, with Anthony Selden adding 18, Max Fielder scoring 13 and Travis Evee hitting for 11.
The Owls return four of their five starters from last year’s team that went 19-16 and are led by Evee and Fiedler, who are both fifth-year seniors.
“It’s important just to get off to a good start, especially the non-conference [play] so we have a lot of momentum going into league play,” Fiedler said. “If each and every night we come out competing hard and playing our brand new basketball, the results will show.”
Wednesday’s game is the first of a four-game road trip for the Owls.
–Field Level Media
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