Javan Felix

Shaka Smart
Associated Press

Rebounding the difference as Texas clips No. 3 North Carolina

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Entering Saturday’s game at Texas No. 3 North Carolina was ranked sixth in the country in defensive rebounding percentage, as opponents were managing to grab just 21.4 percent of their available offensive rebounds. That wasn’t the case in Austin, and it was fitting that Javan Felix’s jumper as time expired to give the Longhorns the 84-82 victory came on a second-chance opportunity.

Texas grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, which worked out to an offensive rebounding percentage of 41 percent and 21 second-chance points. In a game that played as if the team with the ball last would win, the rebounding was the biggest separator between the two teams.

Texas senior center Cameron Ridley, who grabbed six offensive rebounds and finished the game with 12 points and 13 rebounds, proved to be the toughest matchup for North Carolina on the boards. Ridley outplayed Kennedy Meeks, who finished with four points and six rebounds and struggled defensively when involved in ball screens. That led to Meeks at times being replaced by the slender Isaiah Hicks, who chipped in with 14 points and three rebounds off the bench.

Hicks’ contributions were key, especially when also considering Brice Johnson’s early foul trouble, but the Tar Heels’ lack of rebounding ultimately caught up to them.

Ridley wasn’t the only Longhorn who gave North Carolina issues either. Felix scored 25 points, combining with fellow guard Isaiah Taylor to score 43 points¬†on the day. Add in 16 points and four rebounds off the bench from Eric Davis Jr., and Texas’ three most effective guards outscored the North Carolina triumvirate of Marcus Paige, Joel Berry II and Nate Britt 59-33.

While Paige scored 20 points to lead North Carolina, Berry (eight points, no assists) and Nate Britt (five points, two assists) were largely ineffective against the Texas perimeter. That represents a step back for those two, who had played well for the Tar Heels to this point in the season.

Of course, whether or not a foul should have been called when Connor Lammert ran into Marcus Paige before Felix’s shot will be debated ad nauseum. But when looking at why Texas had a chance to win the game, look no further than the rebounding numbers. North Carolina didn’t take care of business on the defensive glass as they had in their first eight games, and in the end they paid for it.

Concussion to keep Texas forward out of Wednesday’s game against TCU

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After playing Saturday’s game, a 61-57 win at Kansas State that ended a four-game losing streak, without two members of his rotation Texas head coach Rick Barnes will once again be without a starter when the Longhorns take on TCU Wednesday night.

6-foot-8 senior forward Jonathan Holmes, who’s currently second on the team in scoring and first in rebounding, will miss his second consecutive game. Holmes suffered a concussion in Texas’ home loss to Oklahoma State last Wednesday, and he hasn’t practiced since according to Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman.

Texas did receive good news in regards to the status of guard Javan Felix however, as he’s been cleared to play after also missing Saturday’s win due to a concussion. Felix was injured late in a loss at Baylor, resulting in his missing the Oklahoma State and Kansas State games.

Without those two in the lineup Saturday, Barnes went with an eight-man rotation with freshman Jordan Barnett playing 11 minutes. Barnett, who is averaging 9.3 minutes per game on the season, played a total of five minutes in the Longhorns’ losses to Baylor and Oklahoma State and did not play against either Kansas (January 24) or Iowa State (January 26).

Texas forward Jonathan Holmes will not play against Kansas State

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Texas has dropped four straight heading into Saturday’s Big 12 clash with Kansas State.

The Longhorns will enter the game without the services of Jonathan Holmes, the team’s second leading scorer and rebounder, who will not travel with the team due to a concussion, according to Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman. Holmes took a shot to the head early in the second half against Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.

While Holmes will remain in Austin, reserve guard Javan Felix, who is also recovering from a concussion, made the trip to Manhattan, but is questionable at the moment, Davis reported.

Holmes is averaging 11.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for struggling Texas, which has fallen to 3-6 in the conference standings. The Longhorns will be taking another another slumping Big 12 program in K-State, which has dropped four of its last five following a hot start to league play.

The Wildcats suspended leading scorer Marcus Foster and freshman Malek Harris on Wednesday night for violation of team rules.