Horns Use Fast Start to Down Mavericks
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Horns Use Fast Start to Down Mavericks

Texas uses a first-half hot streak to run away from UT Arlington 70-54.

How do you know that a coach feels like he has something special in a team? When he nitpicks their better performances.

So it wasn't necessarily that Texas coach Rick Barnes was unhappy with the Longhorns' 70-54 pasting over visiting UT Arlington as much as the fact that he wants the players to strive to be even better.

The Mavericks entered the game with one of the country's top defenses in field goal percentage, and were 3-1, with their only loss a four-point decision against Oklahoma. According to KenPom, UT Arlington was the second-best team Texas had played, behind Fresno State and ahead of USC.

But Texas came out firing, moving the ball well and knocking down open shots. Texas hit eight three-point bombs in the first stanza, blowing out to an easy double-digit lead that the Longhorns never relinquished. Texas led 38-18 at the break, thanks to a 52 percent shooting half, including 53.3 percent from behind the arc.

The Longhorns pushed the lead to 28 with about 10 minutes remaining, and led by 25 with five minutes left before the Mavericks closed on a 13-4 run.

As thrilled as Barnes was with the first half, he seemed equally vexed by the second.

"Basketball should be played like a running faucet," Barnes said. "You never shut it off. We've got too many guys who cut the faucet off and just stop."

Julien Lewis led all scorers with 18 points, including a career-high six threes. But the Longhorns received a ton of their scoring punch from the bench, with Ioannis Papapetrou scoring 17 and Sheldon McClellan adding 14. Texas was out-rebounded 44 rebounds to 31, but the Longhorns forced more turnovers and held the Mavericks to a miserable 29.5 percent shooting performance, blocking nine shots.

"I thought Texas's defense was outstanding; it is the real deal, there is a reason they are No.1 in the country for field goal percentage," said UTA coach Scott Cross.

Jordan Reves had 15 points and 10 rebounds for UT Arlington. Jamel Outler had 12 points off the bench, but took 12 shots to get those points.

Texas moved to 5-2 on the year with the victory, and the Longhorns have won three straight contests. The Longhorns will face a tough opponent in their next game, traveling to New York to play Georgetown in the Jimmy V Classic. Texas then comes back to Houston for a showdown with UCLA at Reliant Stadium on Saturday.