The Horns (5-2) didn't light the board till almost four minutes into the game on a Brad Buckman free throw and didn't notch a field goal till Brandon Mouton knocked down a long two just after the Garden clock ticked below 15:00 to go before the half. For UT, it never got much better. The struggles on the offensive end continued throughout the afternoon -- the Horns shot a miserable 25-percent in the first half and just 32-percent for the game -- while the Blue Devils (8-1) methodically picked apart a porous Longhorn D.
Texas particularly had no answer early for either Chris Duhon or Luol Deng. Duhon opened the blowout with a long three-pointer on Duke's opening possession and then blew by Longhorn defenders time and again on his way to 16 points and nine assists. Deng poured in all of his 12 points before the break. J.J. Redick ensured that the Horns didn't make a second-half run, scoring eight of his game-high 20 points coming in the opening minutes after the break as the Blue Devils stretched a 48-29 halftime lead to 56-33. Texas never got closer than 22 the rest of the way.
Duke out-everythinged the Horns, but the fact that the Blue Devils out-played the Horns in the paint on both ends seemed to bother Rick Barnes the most.
"We simply don't have the post presence we need to have," the Texas head coach said on the post-game radio show on an aspect of his team that, coming into the season, was expected to be a strength. Barnes praised the play of Buckman, calling him the team's "most complete post player" but said the Horns "definitely got to get someone on the team we know we can go to inside, someone that other teams respect."
"James Thomas rebounds the ball but doesn't give us what else we need inside," Barnes added. Perhaps to send his senior post a message, Barnes sat J.T. on the bench for most of the rest of the game after his terrible start. Thomas logged just four first half minutes, missing two of four free throws and four chippies inside while picking up two fouls.
Buckman and Royal Ivey led Texas with 12 points each. Buckman added eight boards and Ivey matched his Duke counterpart Duhon with nine assists. Duhon, though, had a lot of help. Ivey did not. Or, as Barnes put it, "(Ivey's) not getting much support from his teammates." While six Blue Devils hit double figures in points, only Buckman, Ivey and Brian Boddicker (10) did for the Horns. An obviously out-of-sync Mouton finished with nine points on three-of-11 shooting. Sydmill Harris also contributed nine points and Jason Klotz added four while P.J. Tucker posted a four in the foul column and a goose egg in the scoring column. UT's starting five of Mouton, Boddicker, Thomas, Ivey and Kenny Taylor, who was blanked on the day, combined for just 33 points on 10-of-39 shooting.
Texas returns to action on Dec. 29 back in Austin vs. George Washington (6-2).
"We're going to be OK," Barnes said. "We're going to learn and figure this out."