Texas at Iowa State men’s basketball: Five players to watch


After blowing out Oklahoma State and West Virginia, Texas is looking like the best team in the Big 12. Their size is wreaking havoc in the conference, and Iowa State has been on the short-end of rebounding far too much this season.

Jan 25, 2014; Waco, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Jonathan Holmes (10) grabs a rebound in front of Baylor Bears forward Rico Gathers (2) during the first half at The Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Will there be a difference at Hilton Coliseum on Tuesday night? We dive in and look closely at five players that could make a big impact.

#10 Jonathan Holmes (TEX junior forward, 6-foot-8, 240 lbs.)

After missing the game against Oklahoma State, Holmes came back with a bang in the surprise domination over West Virginia, netting 11 points and grabbing seven rebounds.  That production is near his average marks (13 points, 7.3 rebounds per game). He shoots 51.8 percent from the field, only bettered by Cameron Ridley (54.4 percent) and has the best 3-point percentage on the team with 38.6 percent, a surprising stat for a big guy while taking 57 attempts (third-most) from the perimeter.

He dominated Iowa State in the second half of their first meeting with 23 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. His problem area has been turnovers, like many other Texas players, with 41 coughups.

#15 Naz Long (ISU sophomore guard, 6-foot-4, 205 lbs.)

Guess who’s back? Long played 28 minutes and went 4-of-7 from 3-point range in the win over Texas Tech, scoring a total of 14 points. In the previous meeting against Texas, Long was a starter, but he went just 2-of-8 from 3-point range to finish with eight points and three rebounds. Nearly all of his shots take place from downtown, and still is sixth in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (38.1). If he wants extended playing time against the Longhorns, he’ll have to do the same thing he did on Saturday.

#3 Javan Felix (TEX sophomore guard, 5-foot-11, 195 lbs.)

Felix scored 18 points in the win over West Virginia, and his stat line didn’t look much different compared to his 17 point, three assists, and zero turnover night against Iowa State. He hit three 3-point shots, making up for his inefficiency from the field. He only hits 37 percent of his shots on the season, and he hit just 5-of-17 against the Cyclones. But he’s 11th in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage (34.2).

Feb 8, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Melvin Ejim (3) scores a Big 12 record of 48 points against the Texas Christian Horned Frogs at James H. Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones beat the Horned Frogs 84-69. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

#3 Melvin Ejim (ISU senior forward, 6-foot-6, 220 lbs.)

In the last game against the Longhorns, Ejim had a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) but wasn’t a factor in the final minutes after fouling out. On the season, Ejim leads the Big 12 in scoring (18.9 points per game) and is second in rebounding (8.6 boards per game). He fills out a stat sheet in a hurry, and Iowa State needs him to reach his averages to take down Texas at home.

#21 Connor Lammert (TEX sophomore forward, 6-foot-9, 235 lbs.)

Lammert has become the hottest player off the bench, averaging six rebounds in his last six games. That average is pulled down with just one rebound against Kansas, but he had five or more in the other five games. He had nine against Oklahoma State and eight against West Virginia. Texas’ overall size will disrupt Iowa State all game long, even at Hilton Coliseum, and they can’t let Lammert come into the game and do the same.