Texas pounds Navy 83-52 in opener

Jordan Hamilton poured in 21 second-half points as Texas overcame a slow offensive start to blitz visiting Navy 83-52 in the Longhorns' season opener in the first round of the 2K Sports Classic.

Hamilton finished the first half with just five points — all of which were scored in the game's first couple minutes — after shooting just 1-6. But he exploded in the second, shooting 9-11 in finishing with 26 points and 10 rebounds in the game.

Teammate Gary Johnson chipped in 17 and 10, while Tristan Thompson debuted with a 12-7.

"I just like they way they've gone about their business," said Texas coach Rick Barnes after the game. "They were trying. There wasn't any doubt that they were anxious.

"Overall, I thought the demeanor of the team was good," Barnes said.

Texas's offense in the first half was most successful when they ran it through the post. Tristan Thompson and Gary Johnson combined for 18 of Texas's 29 points in shooting 7-9 from the field, while also grabbing a combined eight boards and dishing out a pair of assists.

Hamilton was another pleasant surprise. Despite his poor shooting, he took mostly good shots and grabbed eight first-half rebounds.

Thompson's three-point play before halftime gave Texas its biggest lead to that point, a nine-point advantage at 29-20 that also served as the halftime margin.

The Longhorns led by nine at 38-29 when Hamilton went off. He scored nine of Texas's next 11 points, including a vicious and-one dunk and an alley-oop from J'Covan Brown. Just like that, Texas led 50-31, and the Longhorns never looked back.

Mark Veazey was the only Navy member to score in double figures. He put in 14 points, but shot just 6-16.

The Longhorn defense allowed some easy looks around the basket at times, but also held the Midshipmen to just 19-63 shooting (30.2 percent) for the game. Texas shot 30-59 (50.8) from the field, but struggled from the free throw line, knocking in just 19-34 (55.9).

Texas also had problems behind the arc. Other than Hamilton (3-8), Texas shot just 1-9 from distance.

The Longhorns (1-0), will take on Louisiana Tech at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the second round of the classic.

Game notes

* The Longhorns used a nine-man rotation in the game. Dogus Balbay, Cory Joseph, Jordan Hamilton, Gary Johnson and Matt Hill earned the start. Tristan Thompson was the next player to come in, with J'Covan Brown, Jai Lucas and Alexis Wangmene all entering the game a bit later.

The game marked the first career start for Joseph, Hamilton and Hill.

* Thompson got to the line 10 times, but knocked down just four of his shots. And J'Covan Brown dished out six assists, tying a career high. The bad news was that Brown also had five turnovers. After the game, Barnes took credit for two of the turnovers, stating that Brown was twice asked to make a pass that the Longhorns hadn't practiced.

* After the game, Barnes talked about the need to rebound from all positions. The Longhorns mostly did that in out-rebounding the smaller Midshipmen 50-30. Post players Johnson and Thompson grabbed 10 and 7 boards, respectively, with Hamilton adding 10 from the wing. Guards Brown and Joseph each snagged four boards apiece. Barnes said the Longhorns could still do better in that area.


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