Capping a long and disconcerting day for the Texas Longhorns, the players stayed together, maintained level heads through an uneven start and then finished with a flourish to down the Rice Owls, 87-81, in overtime.
Guard Marcus Carr led seventh-ranked UT with 28 points, including eight in overtime, at UT’s sparkling new Moody Center arena. Sir’Jabari Rice also hit some key buckets in the extra period.
All night, though, it was coach Rodney Terry who stepped in under difficult circustances to steady the Longhorns against Quincy Olivari, Travis Evee and the hot-shooting Owls.
Arguably one of the worst days in UT’s basketball history started early Monday morning with the shocking arrest of Texas head coach Chris Beard, who was charged with felony family violence.
The arrest stemmed from an overnight altercation in which a woman told police that Beard strangled and bit her, according to the Associated Press, the Austin American-Statesman and other Austin media outlets which cited information in an affidavit.
In the wake of Beard’s afternoon release from jail on bond, the university announced that the coach had been suspended without pay “until further notice.”
With Beard’s status uncertain and Terry working as head coach on the bench, UT players, perhaps understandably, seemed a bit out of sorts initially.
The Owls played loose and free and jumped out to an early nine-point lead, and then after the Horns closed to within one, pushed it back to 10 points with two minutes left in the half.
Leading by four at intermission, Rice continued to hit perimeter shots and traded momentum with UT in a closely-contested match.
At the end of regulation, the Owls had a chance to win but missed a shot from the side in the final seconds, sending it to overtime.
“We showed a lot of grit,” Terry said on the UT’s postgame radio broadcast. “(We) battled through some adversity throughout the course of the day, in the game, earlier today, as well. I give my guys a lot of credit. I give our staff a lot of credit.”
With Carr and Sir’Jabari Rice leading the way, the Longhorns outscored the Owls 15-9 in the extra period.
Olivari led the Owls with 28 points, his third consecutive game with 20 or more, and Travis Evee added 19.
For the Longhorns, Timmy Allen scored 15, while freshman Dillon Mitchell produced 12 points and nine rebounds. Off the bench, Rice scored 11, and Brock Cunningham added six points and 10 boards.
“We’ve got an experienced staff that did a great job,” Terry said. “Again, our guys were right where they needed to be at winning time. We’ve been in that position. We’re going to be in that position all year. You know, we found a way to get it done.”
It’s not immediately clear how long Beard will be out.
The coach didn’t answer questions when he left the jail with his attorney, Perry Minton, according to the AP.
Minton declined comment but earlier told the American-Statesman that the coach is innocent.
“He should never have been arrested,” Minton told the newspaper. “The complainant wants him released immediately and all charges dismissed. It is truly inconceivable.”
UT said in a statement that it “takes matters of interpersonal violence involving members of its community seriously.”
According to the AP, the university did not commit to Terry as the acting coach for the Longhorns beyond Monday night.
Terry previously worked at UT as an assistant coach under Rick Barnes before moving on to become a head coach at Fresno State (2011-18) and UTEP (2018-21). He is in his second season as a UT associate head coach under Beard.
Editor’s note: This story was written from San Antonio with help from the UT radio broadcast and with supplemental statistical information from the school’s website.