Storrs, CT (SportsNetwork.com) - The seventh-ranked Texas Longhorns play their first true road game of the season, as they tangle with the Connecticut Huskies in non-conference action on Sunday afternoon.
Texas is a perfect 5-0 this season, the team having recently whipped visiting Saint Francis-PA last Tuesday, 78-46. That triumph came on the heels of the Longhorns' winning the 2K Classic with championship-round victories over Iowa (71-57) and California (71-55). This bout is the first of three tough ones UT will play before starting up Big 12 Conference action on Jan. 3, 2015, as games against No. 1 Kentucky and Stanford loom over the next several weeks.
The defending national champion Huskies opened the 2014-15 campaign with three straight wins. Unfortunately, the team suffered its first setback in last Sunday's 78-68 final at West Virginia, which happened to the be the title game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. UConn's wins have come against Bryant (66-53), the College of Charleston (65-57) and Dayton (75-64), but tougher bouts are on the horizon, as in addition to today's tussle, the Huskies will square off against Duke (Dec. 18) and Florida (Jan. 3, 2015) before getting into the meat of their American Athletic Conference schedule.
Connecticut owns a 5-2 lead in the all-time series with Texas, which includes an 82-81 win in the most recent encounter in Austin back in 2011.
Texas got a monster effort from freshman Myles Turner in the recent win over Saint Francis, as he recorded his first career double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. He also added three blocks to his impressive stat line, and tied a single-game school record for FG percentage (min. 10 attempts) by going 11-of-12 from the floor. Cameron Ridley helped out with 16 points, Kendal Yancy had 12 and Connor Lammert 11 for the Longhorns, who made good on 57.1 percent of their total shots, which included a 7-of-14 effort from 3-point range. Defensively, Texas turned up the heat in allowing the Red Flash a mere 31 percent success rate on their field goal attempts, with only 5 of their 21 long-range launches finding the bottom of the net. A 43-21 rebounding advantage and a 42-18 edge in points in the paint also played major roles in the lopsided outcome.
Isaiah Taylor is one of three double-digit scorers for Texas coming into this contest, as he is netting 15.0 ppg, while also contributing with 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest. Jonathan Holmes (13.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Turner (12.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.6 bpg) have been highly productive as well, with the rookie Turner doing all his damage off the bench. Overall, the Longhorns are putting up 78 ppg while permitting just 52.2 ppg, and they are easily outshooting their foes (.496 to .298 FG percentage, .393 to .274 3-point FG percentage), while laying claim to substantial rebounding differential (+14.2).
Ryan Boatright scored 17 points, and freshman Daniel Hamilton logged a double- double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, but those efforts went for naught as UConn dropped a 10-point decision to West Virginia last Sunday in Puerto Rico. Kentan Facey chipped in 10 points for the Huskies, who matched the Mountaineers in field goal shooting (45 percent), but were outscored at the foul line (16-9), while making good on only 3-of-17 3-point attempts (.176). A whopping 19 turnovers also cost them a chance at the win.
Boatright has been the team's go-to scorer here in early going, as the senior is averaging an even 20 ppg in hitting his shots at a 45.5 percent clip. He is also an 81.3 percent free-throw shooter, having made more than twice as many foul shots as his closest teammate has even attempted. Hamilton (13.3 ppg) is the squad's only other double-digit scorer at the moment, although Amida Brimah (9.5 ppg) and Rodney Purvis (9.3 ppg) are close to joining the ranks. As a team, the Huskies are netting 68.5 ppg while allowing 63.0 ppg.