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No. 12 Texas beats Houston Christian, 77-50, in uninspiring win

It was hardly a dominant performance for the Longhorns at home against one of the worst team’s in D1.

NCAA Basketball: Houston Christian at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Facing the 1-6 Houston Christian Huskies, ranked No. 356 in adjusted efficiency by, the No. 12 Texas Longhorns held the visitors scoreless for more than half of the first half and went on a series of runs late to notch a 77-50 win on Saturday at the Moody Center.

In the bounce-back win following Wednesday’s blowout loss to No. 8 Marquette, Texas senior guard Max Abmas scored a team-high 16 points, one of five Longhorns to score in double digits, a group that also included senior forward Kadin Shedrick with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four steals and three blocks and sophomore forward Dillon Mitchell with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting with 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block.

The Longhorns were able to score 48 points in the paint, but went just 6-of-21 shooting from three (28.6 percent). For a second straight game, senior guard IT Horton struggled, scoring two points on 1-of-10 shooting and missing all four three-point attempts.

Texas got off to an efficient start offensively on 5-of-7 shooting prior to the under-16 timeout with threes by junior guard Tyrese Hunter and Shedrick, the Virginia transfer’s second of the season, to take a 12-6 lead at the first media break.

Attacking the Houston Christian zone, Hunter found senior forward Ze’Rik Onyema for a dunk on a no-look pass and Mitchell made a layup for a fifth-consecutive field goal for the Longhorns.

But Texas wasn’t able to create early separation, leading 18-17 at the under-12 timeout after Houston Christian made consecutive shots and the Longhorns missed three of their last four field-goal attempts, the start of an ugly stretch that saw Texas go 2-of-11 shooting while HCU went 2-of-9 shooting.

Head coach Rodney Terry’s team finally went on a run midway through the half, scoring 12 straight points, including eight on the fast break highlighted by Mitchell’s windmill dunk, over nearly seven minutes as the Huskies went eight minutes without scoring, missing 11 straight shots and turning the ball over six times.

Houston Christian kept missing and turning the ball over and Abmas hit a three to extend the lead to 33-17 with 2:12 remaining in the first half before Hunter threw a lob to Mitchell for a two-handed slam and Abmas made another layup to extend the run to 19-0.

At half, the Huskies had gone 11:57 without scoring, missing 14 straight shots to finish at 20.7-percent shooting with 12 turnovers. Leading 37-17, the Longhorns had a 13-2 advantage in points off turnovers, a 28-8 edge in paints in the paint, and 12 fast-break points compared to zero for Houston Christian, the team that entered the game with the nation’s No. 3 adjusted tempo, according to

The first 12 minutes of the second half were underwhelming for Texas as Houston Christian out-scored the home team 24-21 by the under-eight timeout, shooting 45.5 percent from the field and only turning the ball over once. The Longhorns also avoided turnovers and didn’t shoot poorly, but that’s faint praise against one the nation’s worst D1 basketball teams. On five offensive rebounds through that stretch, Texas failed to score even a single second-chance point.

The Horns finally went on a run, scoring eight straight points that included a fast-break layup by Mitchell and a fast-break three by sophomore guard Chendall Weaver, followed by a five-point surge and a six-point surge as the Huskies finally started getting overwhelmed again.

Texas returns to the hardwood next Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston against LSU in The Halal Guys Showcase.