The Longhorns were sluggish for most of the first half, trailing 11-5 after an early nine-point burst from Anthony Miles. But Texas slowly clawed back, taking the lead on a Jordan Hamilton three-pointer and striking at the Cardinals with balance — Hamilton, Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson all finished the first half with seven points, while Gary Johnson had six and Dogus Balbay five.
The Longhorns three times led by 11, but all three times, points from Devon Lamb cut the lead to nine. The last of those buckets, an inside shot with three seconds left, sliced Texas's halftime lead to 34-25.
The Cardinals never got any closer. After exchanging two points to start the half, Joseph drilled a three-pointer to give Texas a 12-point lead. Then Thompson added a free throw, Hamilton added two more, Balbay converted a three-point play and Johnson hit a jumper. Just like that, Texas was up 21 at 48-27 and appeared to be on its way to a relaxing win.
Unfortunately, that wasn't in the cards. Lamar went on a 17-8 run of its own when Kendrick Harris laid the ball in to cut the lead back to 12. Texas still led by 12 at 60-48 when Cory Joseph took over. Joseph hit a mid-range jumper, then knocked down a long two before blocking a shot, grabbing a rebound and starting a fast break. He ended the break by finding Jai Lucas for a bucket, then dished another assist to Hamilton, who knocked down a three.
The quick 9-1 spurt put the lead back at 20 and the Longhorns coasted the rest of the way.
Joseph played arguably his best game as a Longhorn, scoring 16 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out four assists. Hamilton tied for the scoring and assist lead with 16 and four, and had six rebounds. Hamilton again struggled from the floor though, making just 5-15 shots. Thompson had 11 points and 13 rebounds, while Johnson chipped in 10 and Balbay 8.
Texas committed 23 turnovers in the game.
Harris led the Cardinals (4-3) with 13 points, while Miles had 11. The duo combined to shoot just 5-18 from the field for the game, with Miles starting 2-3 and finishing at 2-6. As a team, the Cardinals shot just 18-70, or right under 26 percent, and dished out three assists to 21 turnovers.
The victory marked Barnes's 300th win in 13 seasons at Texas. Barnes was already the winningest coach in school history. He won his 500th overall game earlier this season.
The Longhorns will next play USC in Los Angeles Sunday as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood series.