AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—Sydmill Harris was the forgotten man in the Texas lineup.
A key role player in the No. 11 Longhorns’ run to the Final Four last season, he’d seen his playing time diminish steadily and his point production drop to almost zero in the last 10 games.
Given another chance, he got hot Wednesday night against Colorado. He hit all three of his 3-point attempts and finished with a team-high 13 points in a 76-63 Longhorns win.
“Long time no see, everyone,” Harris joked from the podium in the post-game interviews. He hadn’t scored in double figures since a win over Wofford on Dec. 4 and didn’t score in eight of the previous 10 games.
“I was confident I would get back on the court,” he said after shooting 4-of-5 against Colorado. “When you play well, you’ll get to play.”
The Longhorns hit 11 3-pointers in the first game back in the Frank Erwin Center since their 25-game home winning streak was snapped in a Jan. 24 loss to Oklahoma State.
The win also moved Texas (15-3, 6-1) into a tie for first place in the Big 12 with Oklahoma State and Kansas.
Kenton Paulino hit four 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 13 points for Texas, which used its outside shooting to neutralize the defensive presence of Colorado’s 7-foot center David Harrison.
“Their 3-pointers were the thing that killed us,” said Colorado’s Michel Morandais, who had 15 points. “We knew we had to take care of the boards to beat them and we did, but we didn’t expect them to hit all those 3s.”
Harrison scored 18 points to lead the Buffaloes (12-7, 4-4). Colorado outrebounded Texas 38-31 but committed 18 turnovers which the Longhorns converted into 19 points.
Texas shot 56 percent in the first half and was on the verge of seizing control as the Longhorns built a 38-26 lead on Royal Ivey’s 3 pointer with 2:39 left.
But three straight turnovers led to 9-0 Colorado run to end the half. Morandais had seven points in the run, including a long 3-pointer, and Marcus Hall jammed in a fast-break dunk off a turnover as the Buffalos pulled to 38-35.
Texas quickly stretched the lead back to 10 in the second when P.J. Tucker hit a layup in traffic and Harris hit the first of his three 3-pointers in the half to make it 57-47.
“That first one, that felt good. To tell the truth, I didn’t feel like it was going in,” Harris said.
“Right now, he’s got his confidence back,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “He’s doing what we expected him to do at the beginning of the season.”
By early in the second half, entire Longhorns team seemed to be heating up from long range. Harris hit two more 3-pointers, Paulino hit his fourth, Brian Boddicker swished one from the left corner and Texas led 73-59 with 3:22 to play.