The Horns improved to 9-3 with an ugly, 76-66, win, over Centenary (5-8). Texas never got rolling as turnovers, cold shooting, and frequent substitutions prevented the establishment of any rhythm. While Centenary was never in a position to win the game, the Gents can at least take a moral victory back to Louisiana. The Horns on the other hand were just happy to get a win.
The Horns really started slowly and were actually down 13-12 after just over eight minutes of play. Texas shot just 37% from the floor in the first half and committed 11 turnovers. They looked tired, slow, and sloppy. Coach Barnes was not pleased and substituted liberally. Eleven Longhorns saw action before the intermission.
Texas did look better in the second half. They started quickly after the break and easily extended their 13 point halftime lead to 21 points before the first TV timeout. AJ Abrams scored a quick eight points and Kevin Durant added a three pointer during the stretch. With the outcome firmly established, Barnes continued to substitute freely. No starter played more than 31 minutes (Durant) and four bench players notched more than 10 minutes of action.
Barnes said after the game that the Horns had worked diligently on defense during their last two practices and that their lack of work on offense showed. That may be true but their work on defense didn't really show up either. Centenary shot over 40% in both halves, equaled the Horns with 26 points in the paint, and outscored the Horns in transition 14-10. The Gents also had absolutely no trouble breaking the press in the first half. The only area the Horns dominated was rebounding. Texas outrebounded the smaller Gents 45-30 and won the battle in second chance points 19-7.
Kevin Durant 21 pts (7/17), 17 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 steals, 3 turnovers in 31 min
I didn't realize he had such a monster night until I looked at the stat sheet. If it's possible to have a quiet 21 and 17 night, he had one.
AJ Abrams 13 pts (5/13), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 turnovers in 30 min
Abrams didn't score during the first half for the second game in a row. He was excellent during a four minute stretch in the second but very quiet overall.
Damion James 1 pt (0/4), 9 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover in 20 min
Given he played only half the game, the rebound production is outstanding. He still failed to show any touch around the basket and shot just 1/4 from the line.
DJ Augustin 12 pts (3/7), 1 rebound, 7 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers in 29 min
Barnes said that both Augustin and James have been sick recently and it showed. DJ didn't look as quick and frequently put himself in tough finishing positions near the rim.
Justin Mason 11 pts (4/8), 0 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover in 28 min
Like DJ, Mason just didn't seem as active tonight. He did knock down 3/4 from behind the arc though.
Craig Winder 4 pts (1/2), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals in 11 min
As bad as this sounds, Winder was more active than any other Longhorn in the first half.
JD Lewis 3 pts (0/1), 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover in 13 min
The increasing number of minutes for Lewis is scary.
Matt Hill 5 pts (1/2), 4 rebounds, 1 block in 15 min
Hill was active in moments but must do a better job finishing near the rim especially on offensive putbacks. Gather yourself and go up strong.
Connor Atchley 4 pts (1/4), 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover in 15 min
Connor was nowhere near as active has he has been in recent games. Scratch that idea of starting him at center and bringing AJ off the bench for now.
Dexter Pittman 0 pts (0/1), 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers in 3 min
I don't remember both of the turnovers but I do remember the foul in his first 15 seconds of action. It looks like Big Dex may only be good for about 5-10 minutes of playing time this season.
Congratulations to Rick Barnes for his 200th win at Texas. Not bad considering this is only his ninth season. Coach Barnes took some time after the game to remember some of the players who helped him during his early days at Texas. He said that he will never forget his first recruit at Texas, Chris Owens, or the first guy to ever really buy into his system, Ivan Wagner. Barnes is not the best game coach in the country but he is good one. Additionally he is an excellent recruiter, has built a consistent and nationally recognized basketball program at Texas, and we are lucky to have him. Great job Rick. Looking forward to seeing what you can bring hungry Texas basketball fans next.
Next Game: UT Arlington Tuesday January 2nd 7 PM at the Erwin Center