Texas Men’s Basketball Head Coach Rodney Terry held his media availability today (2/20) and was asked about the upcoming game against Iowa State, objectives before entering the Big 12 Tournament and so much more. Before we get into what he spoke about, let's do a quick recap of the last few games.
Just over a week ago, I wrote about Texas’ next 3 games being West Virginia, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. While I noted that these teams were all unranked, I did state that no game in the Big 12 is an easy one…at all. I also was interested to see if the 'Horns would be able to rest up some starters before they hit the tough stretch to end their season, which starts on Tuesday at home against #23 Iowa State.
Looking first at West Virginia, Coach Terry and the team accomplished exactly what they needed to do by blowing out the Mountaineers 60-94. This was Texas' third largest margin of victory this season, and they were able to substitute out players such as Marcus Carr, Tyrese Hunter, Sir’Jabari Rice and others a little earlier than they are usually able to.
Moving to Texas Tech, the game was expected to be a dogfight as Tech has now gone 10-3 against the Longhorns in their last 13 matchups.
And a dogfight it was.
The Red Raiders played arguably one of their best games of the season and defeated the 'Horns 74-67. Tech shot 50% from the 3-point line and outrebounded Texas by a total of 12 boards (41 to 29) while seeming to control the game from the tip.
Finishing with the Red River Rivalry, Texas was able to defeat the scrappy Sooners in OT by a final score of 85-83. Both teams shot less than 35% from the 3-point line, Marcus Carr played a whopping 43 minutes and Sir’Jabari Rice continued his 6th man of the year candidacy with 24 points off the bench in 34 minutes played. It’s also important to note that freshman Dillon Mitchell only played 12 minutes while scoring none and Tyrese Hunter played 24 minutes and scored just 5 points. Hunter has now scored 10 points or less in 6 out of his last 7 games.
With all that, Coach Terry had a lot to talk about today in his press conference. Towards the beginning, Terry was asked about Freshman Arterio Morris and Dillon Mitchell and how fresh they are heading into the final stretch of the normal season: “Both guys have grown all year long, they have learned to put more extra work in… I thought both of those guys at certain points of this season hit the wall just a little bit and they’ve bounced back really well in terms of continuing to get better and trying to be factors for us as we go down the stretch…”.
Terry was either asked about the competitiveness of the Big 12 several times, stating that “every night you have to be physical in this league and every night you have to value taking care of the basketball…”. When asked about where the team is struggling: “It’s the Big 12, when you say struggling, what’s really struggling in the Big 12? On any given night anybody can beat anybody, whether you’re at home or on the road… struggling in this league is not struggling…”.
Terry also mentioned how Sir’Jabari rice has really stepped into a bigger role in the last month or so and was asked about incoming 5-Star Ron Holland: “Ron Holland has had probably one of the more decorated high school careers of any kid that has played basketball in the state of Texas… he’s done everything you can do at the high school level and then some…and at the end of the day Ron Holland is a winner…”. Rodney also touched on 5-star AJ Johnson and finished by saying that the team must “control what [they] can control”.
Let’s see how well the Longhorns can control their final four games, as all four of them are currently against ranked opponents.
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