AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Freshman Myles Turner scored 16 points in his first career start, and 11th-ranked Texas held off an inspired Rice team 66-55 on Monday afternoon.
Turner, a highly recruited 6-foot-11 forward, shot 6 of 7 in his first start after 12 games as a reserve.
Forward Jonathan Holmes scored 12 for Texas, including a three-point play that put Texas (11-2) up six with 2:50 remaining.
Holmes’ basket and free throw were part of a 13-0 run for the Longhorns, who led by just two with less than four minutes left.
Rice (3-8) went scoreless for 5:46 late in the game before scoring with six seconds to go.
Forward Seth Gearhart led Rice with a career-best 24 points, 10 more than his average. He was 4 of 8 on 3-pointers.
Guard Marcus Jackson scored 10 for the Owls, all in the first half.
Texas opened an eight-point lead with a pair of free throws by Cam Ridley with less than 13 minutes remaining. But then Gearhart hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions.
Turner had only two points with 3:11 remaining in the first half. Then he scored seven straight, including a 3-pointer, to start a 9-0 spurt to finish the half that gave Texas a 29-22 lead.
Rice went scoreless for the final 4:44 of the half.
The Longhorns also struggled on offense in the first half. They shot 39 percent, missed on 7 of 9 3-point attempts, and committed nine turnovers.
Fortunately for Texas, its defense was more efficient, forcing 10 turnovers by the Owls, who shot 40 percent in the half.
Jackson kept the Owls close, scoring eight of their first nine points.
Texas: Turner made 22 consecutive free throws before missing one early in the second half. . Holmes, a senior, needs one point to reach 1,000 for his career. . The Longhorns, who were ranked second nationally in rebounding margin with plus-14.6 before the game, beat Rice on the boards 39-25.
Rice: The Owls are not regularly among elite company. Monday’s game was its first against a nationally ranked team since losing to the No. 20 Longhorns on Nov. 27, 2010. That was a close one, though, 62-59.
Texas: Visits Texas Tech on Saturday.
Rice: Hosts UTSA on Friday.
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