Texas Basketball: 2 studs, 1 dud from resilient win over Rice

Marcus Carr, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Carr, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

In the midst of a turbulent day for the Texas basketball program, this team managed to pull out a really resilient win that showed its toughness and perseverant attitude. Under the direction of acting head coach Rodney Terry, No. 7 ranked Texas was able to hang on to defeat a pretty gritty and underrated Rice Owls team at home at the Moody Center on Dec. 12.

Rice pushed the Longhorns in about every way possible in this game. The Owls shot the ball well from the field and from deep throughout regulation. And while Rice’s three-ball started to miss more often late in the second half and in overtime (finished up shooting around 31 percent from beyond the arc), there were other areas where the Owls dialed up the pressure on Texas.

Rice got to the charity stripe a lot down the stretch and forced some untimely turnovers from the Longhorns. We also saw some of the key Texas players go dry from the field down the stretch in this game.

In the end, though, the Longhorns rallied to get the clutch 87-81 win over Rice in overtime on Dec. 12.

This keeps Texas at one loss on the season while showing what this team can do when put in tumultuous situations. Texas moves to a record of 8-1 (0-0 Big 12) following this win over Rice. The Longhorns are now sitting on a two-game winning streak.

Here’s a look at two studs and one dud from Texas’ resilient overtime win over Rice on Dec. 12.

Studs and one dud from Texas basketball’s OT win over Rice

Stud No. 1: Dillon Mitchell, F

There was one stud on this list that is far and above the rest in terms of the impact that he made on this game for the Longhorns. But there are two other Longhorns players that deserve props for what they did against the Owls. First is senior forward Brock Cunningham. The gritty forward had another big game off the bench for the Longhorns, with a team-high 10 boards.

But I want to give this stud slot to freshman forward Dillon Mitchell. The former elite five-star recruit contributed in multiple ways for the Longhorns, including going a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line and bringing in nine rebounds.

Mitchell helped Texas ultimately win the battle on the boards as he and Cunningham combined for half of the rebounds for the team against Rice. The freshman forward was very close to getting his second double-double of the season as he registered a dozen points (on 3-of-6 shooting from the field) and nine boards.

Moreover, Mitchell made a big impact on this game on the defensive end of the floor too. He was disruptive to this Rice offense, nabbing three steals on the night. Mitchell’s defensive contributions showed up in the team-high 94.0 defensive rating he posted in this game.

Dud No. 1: Tyrese Hunter, G

Unfortunately, we find sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter in the dud slot for the second consecutive game. Hunter is clearly out of whack in the last two games, especially in terms of the ability to find his offensive game.

In the last two games combined, Hunter has registered just nine points. And in the win over Rice, Hunter came up with a season-low two points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field and 0-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Hunter was pretty good on the defensive end of the floor, but he didn’t stand out in a big way in that regard either.

A good way to sum up this performance for Hunter lies in the box plus/minus for the game. He posted a season-worst -6.7 box plus/minus in the win over Rice.

Stud No. 2: Marcus Carr, G

The clear-cut most valuable player for the Longhorns was definitely super senior guard Marcus Carr.

This was the best offensive performance of the season so far for Carr, as he registered a game and season-high 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field, 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, and 6-of-8 from the free-throw line. Carr got his shot going from the field and from deep. He was even getting to the charity stripe at a higher rate than usual this season.

Carr really put the team on his back down the stretch, playing a whopping game and season-high 42 minutes. Between the second half and overtime, Carr scored 22 points. In overtime, Carr had more than half of Texas’ 15 points to help close out Rice.

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Moreover, this was a really nice outing for Carr. He scored as many points as he has in any one game since he started playing for Texas last season. And Carr has responded well in the last two games since he had an off night in the loss to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Dec. 6.