Junior G Sydmill Harris led all scorers with 23 points after draining five of eight from three-point range (7-of-11 FG) while senior G Brandon Mouton wasn't far off the pace with 20 (8-of-16 FG, 4-of-8 treys). Freshman F P.J. Tucker, playing well beyond his years, followed his record-breaking freshman debut last week with his second straight double-double, contributing 18 points and 11 boards. (The youngster from Raleigh led all scorers with 18 points and added 13 boards in his collegiate debut, Nov. 17 vs. Brown.)
It's only November (Duke and Arizona loom large next month), but don't be surprised to see junior G Edgar Moreno logging more minutes at the point as Barnes tinkers with his pre-conference rotations. Senior G Royal Ivey is the best defensive stopper in the Big 12, but Moreno (and, again, it's early) appears more at ease in pushing the ball up the court. The juco transfer dished out 10 assists against no turnovers while adding 11 points (5-of-8 FG) from the floor. The line on Ivey was three assists, two turnovers and two steals while tallying nine points (4-of-9 FG).
After missing the season-opener with an ankle injury, F Brad Buckman played with the buoyant tenacity that was so evident in the National Semifinal game against Syracuse. The sophomore opened his 2003-04 campaign with a double-double, contributing 14 points (4-of-9 FG, 6-of-7 FT) and 13 boards. Senior F Brian Boddicker finished with 10 points, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. C James Thomas had a relatively quiet night, by his standards. The senior registered nine points and six rebounds Monday, after grabbing a personal-best 19 boards against Brown last week.
The Horns forced five turnovers in the first five minutes to open up an 18-5 lead following Moreno's jumper. His trey made it 23-11 with 13:33 remaining until intermission. Two minutes later, Tucker rebounded his own missed FT and laid it in, giving Texas a 31-15 advantage.
Mouton connected from three-point land to make it 40-18 at the 7:51 mark. After Harris added a trey of his own one minute later, Moreno's lay-up with 6:29 remaining capped a 12-0 Texas run and extended the lead, 49-18. Tucker tallied three straight Texas buckets during a two minute stretch, culminating with a lay-up with 2:51 left with Texas comfortably in front, 58-24.
Texas closed the first half with three consecutive treys in the final 2:09: two more from Harris plus Boddicker's buzzer-beater to make it 67-29. The flurry of three-pointers completed a 30-5 Longhorn run heading into the locker room.
After misfiring on all eight three-point attempts in the first half, the Bearkats began launching treys over Texas' 2-3 zone (hitting 6-of-18) following intermission. But Boddicker picked up where he left off, nailing a trey with 16:30 remaining to open up a 77-35 bulge. Ivey's 19-footer, followed by another Mouton trey, gave Texas an 84-39 margin. Ivey's soaring tip-in brought the Erwin Center crowd (those who had not departed for the Texas A&M Hex Rally) to their feet to make it 88-45.
With Moreno running the point, Harris' lay-up capped a 7-0 run as the Horns led 92-56. The three-point specialist followed with a pair of treys as the avalanche continued, 99-56. The only question remaining was when Texas would top the century mark. Moreno answered with his lay-up to make it, 101-58, with 7:13 remaining.
Tucker's lay-up off of Moreno's fast break feed gave Texas a 50-point cushion at 110-60 with just under five minutes remaining. Barnes began to empty his bench with little more than three minutes remaining after Moreno's lay-in made it 116-60.
Texas shot 53.7 percent (44-of-82) from the field while holding the Bearkats to just under 38 percent (25-of-66). The Horns also forced 22 turnovers, including 10 steals.
But Texas' Achilles Heel this season may be its free throw shooting. The Horns were just 22-of-33 (66.7 percent) from the charity stripe after shooting a chilly 60 percent from the line in the home opener. It doesn't matter against the Sam Houstons of the college basketball world; it will against Arizona and Duke.
The Horns host Centenary 7 p.m., CST, Saturday (Fox Sports Southwest telecast).