AUSTIN (AP) — His head clear again and not hurting, Texas guard Javan Felix was back in the game to help give Longhorns coach Rick Barnes a milestone victory.
Felix returned after missing two games with a concussion to score 16 points and Barnes got career win No. 600 with a 66-43 win over TCU on Wednesday night.
The junior has had three concussions in the past year and said he worries that if he gets another one “I won’t be able to play again.”
Texas school policy mandates that team doctors, not coaches, decide when a player returns from a concussion. Texas medical staff had refused to let Longhorns quarterback David Ash back on the field after a concussion in the first game last season and Ash quit the sport several weeks later.
“It’s my brain, so yeah I was concerned,” Felix said. “I healed up well, thank God.”
Barnes is the 13th active major college coach to reach the 600-victory mark and did it in his 28th season, his 17th with the Longhorns. Texas (16-8, 5-6 Big 12) also won its second consecutive game after a four-game losing streak.
Felix made four of Texas’ seven 3-pointers. Cam Ridley added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Longhorns.
Kyan Anderson had 11 points for TCU (14-10, 1-10), which scored just 16 in the first half in dropping its seventh straight loss.
Barnes started his career with one season at George Mason before stints at Providence and Clemson prior to taking the job at Texas. He’s had only two losing seasons in 28 years with a career record of 600-308. He’s led Texas to the NCAA tournament in 15 of his previous 16 seasons.
After the final buzzer, Barnes was presented with a game ball from Texas athletic director Steve Patterson as his team gathered around him.
“Winning the game tonight was more important. I still have a lot of faith and confidence in these guys,” Barnes said. “I was fortunate and blessed to be a head coach at a very young age and worked for great institutions. I’ve had great players, support and coaching staffs … I’d like to win a lot more.”
Felix had been out since taking a hard hit on a screen against Baylor on Jan. 31 but stayed in the game and he wasn’t diagnosed until later. He was run into another screen in the first half against the Horned Frogs.
Again, Felix was allowed to keep playing and said after the game he felt fine.
“I need to listen better,” to teammates warning him, Felix said.
“We are concerned about Javan, especially with the game the way it is,” Barnes said. “Concussions are always something you worry about.”
Kendal Yancy, who was seldom used in Big 12 play until Felix was hurt, made two early 3-pointers and had eight points by halftime, doubling his season average. He finished with 12 points.
Yancy had already hit two early 3-pointers before Texas guard Isaiah Taylor scooped up a loose ball after a block, drove the lane and kicked out a long pass to Felix for another 3-pointer that put Texas ahead 19-10.
The Longhorns led 31-16 at halftime. Texas appeared to be cruising to an easy win before a 13-2 run by TCU cut the Longhorns lead to 39-32 with about 11 minutes left when Chauncey Collins made a 3-pointer.
The Longhorns pushed the lead back to 11 when Ridley took a low pass in the paint from Felix, took one step and threw down a two-handed dunk. Felix then put the game away with a 3-pointer with just under seven minutes left that put Texas ahead 53-37.
Texas senior forward Jonathan Holmes missed his second consecutive game with a concussion. Holmes, who averages 11.5 points and 6.4 rebounds, was injured early in the second half of Texas’ loss to Oklahoma State on Feb. 4.
TCU lost one of its few breathers against non-ranked opponents. The Horned Frogs had played six consecutive games against ranked teams.
ROAD MAP TO VICTORY
TCU coach Trent Johnson had a simple answer for how the Horned Frogs could start winning games.
“If we shoot the ball well, rebound the ball well, and take care of the ball well, we have a chance to win. We didn’t tonight,” Johnson said.
TCU shot 29 percent, got outrebounded 36-27 and had as many turnovers (9) as assists.
Texas is still fighting to get back to .500 in the Big 12 with the top half of the league still looming on the schedule.
“It’s all still out there in front of us,” Barnes said. “With injuries, we haven’t had consistency. If we can get that, we can get things done.”
Texas hosts Texas Tech on Saturday
TCU hosts No. 21 Oklahoma State on Saturday
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