The Associated Press
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Texas coach Rick Barnes says his team is heading back to Austin from Hawaii with two tough losses in the Maui Invitational and plenty of lessons. It finally got a win in the tournament Wednesday morning, beating Mississippi State 69-55 to finish seventh in the eight-team field.
"If we figure it out, we've got a chance to be good. There is a lot of basketball left, and we've got a lot of room for improvement," Barnes said. "But the first thing that we've got to get is a consistent effort."
Guard Sheldon McClellan came off the bench and scored 19 points in a game in which the Longhorns (3-2) went up by 18 points in the first half and coasted in the last 20 minutes, shooting 50 percent for the game.
Barnes said he liked the first half, but not his team's 15 turnovers in the second half. The Bulldogs outscored Texas by 4 points in the second half.
"I thought early, defensively, we really did some good things," he said. "I thought our offense would feed off that, but again, we don't understand the value of taking care of the ball in the second half."
Mississippi State (1-4) made one-third of its shots (17 of 51), improving in the second half after making only five field goals in the first.
Julien Lewis scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half. Cameron Ridley had eight points and 12 rebounds.
Roquez Johnson led the Bulldogs with 18 points, starting after limping off the court with help in the second half of Tuesday's loss to Marquette.
Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said his team had the same problems as it did in its first two games in Maui — too many turnovers, not enough assists.
"Just the same old story for us," he said.
Texas took a 10-point lead midway through the first half, scoring eight straight points starting with a dunk from Cameron Ridley and finishing with a 3-pointer from Ioannis Papapetrou. Less than two minutes later, Prince Ibeh blocked a layup attempt from Trivante Bloodman, leading to a transition dunk for Lewis. The Longhorns took a 17-point lead with just under five minutes in the half on a 3-pointer from Demarcus Holland.
Mississippi State made no field goals in the half after Gavin Ware hit a jumper with 9:38 left. Its best run all game was seven straight points from free throws.
The Texas players took turns on personal scoring runs in the second half. McClellan scored eight straight for his team during a roughly two minute span, then Ridley scored six points during an 11-2 run in the middle of the half.
The matchup was the first time the teams had met since 2002, when sixth-seeded Texas upset third-seeded MSU in the NCAA tournament to reach the Sweet 16.
Each team lost its first two games in the eight-team tournament to set up the game for seventh place. Texas lost in a surprising 13-point blowout Monday night to Division II Chaminade, then lost Tuesday in overtime to USC.
"The first night we came out and I don't think we could have beaten any team in the country," Barnes said. "We walked out, and I'm not sure, maybe it was a little bit of an entitlement type attitude because of what I think our program has stood for and what guys have done before us.
"We're not there yet. I thought today we got closer to it, because this game is a tough game to get ready for," he said.
Mississippi State wasn't close in either of its first two games in Hawaii against No. 9 North Carolina and Marquette. It lost by a combined 73 points.
Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia.