Horns Go Postal In 86-57 Pasting Of Mean Green

Junior F Brad Buckman tallied 18 points and seven blocked shots, both career highs, in leading Texas past North Texas Tuesday at the Erwin Center.

Buckman was one of three UT post players to score double-digits after head coach Rick Barnes stressed front-court offense, developing set plays for the junior, during the past couple of days in practice. In fact, Barnes told Buckman earlier this week that senior C Jason Klotz is Texas' only inside player with any type of consistent move to the bucket. Barnes told Buckman, "We want to know when we give you the ball what to expect from you."

That's why Barnes, wanting to balance his team's offensive attack that is averaging 23 three-point attempts per game, has been in Buckman's face as of late.

"Coach has been getting on me for not posting up more and not demanding the ball enough," Buckman said. "You saw what it did when I posted up in the paint. I got those easy chip shots."

Truth be told, Barnes said he has been just as stern with Klotz "for not shooting shots when they're open."

Klotz responded with 14 points (7-of-12 FG) to match senior G Kenny Taylor (5-of-7 FG, including three from outside the line) as the game's second-leading scorer. Establishing himself as Texas' sixth man, Klotz is the only Longhorn to reach double figures in all seven games this season. Entering Tuesday's contest, the senior was tied for second in team scoring (11.3 ppg) and ranks second in rebounding (9.8 rpg).

Klotz backs McDonald's All-American LaMarcus Aldridge, but the freshman has been beset by foul trouble throughout his young career. Aldridge fouled out against Seton Hall Saturday and picked up his fourth personal less than two minutes into the second period Tuesday. He finished with a flurry, scoring six of Texas' final eight points to register 12 points (4-of-5 FG) and seven rebounds in just 16 minutes of work.

"LaMarcus came back but he's going to have to fight through the foul trouble," Barnes noted.

The night, however, belonged to Buckman whose seventh block was just one shy of Texas' single game record shared by Chris Mihm and Chris Owens. It was the fifth time this season the junior has scored in double figures. Buckman contributed 11 points in the 70-62 win at Seton Hall and matched his 18-point total in the 82-80 loss against Iowa.

"The past two games, he's played harder than he's played in three years," Barnes said. "He's really set a good tone for us the past two games."

While Barnes applauded Buckman's physical inside play, Klotz shared some of the credit.

"Brad and I are roommates and I rough him up every day to get him ready," Klotz grinned. "If he touches my ice cream..."

Buckman was obviously feeling it early in the contest, blocking three of North Texas' first eight FG attempts.

"Last night we were looking at the stat sheet for the team and I noticed that we were both tied at seven (blocks)," Klotz said. "I saw he had two early blocks and I said 'Hey, he's up on me.'"

The Horns upped their lead, 12-2, seven minutes into the ballgame as the visitors connected on just 1-of-15 from the floor. The Texas bench was whistled for a technical foul at the 10:59 mark for having six players on the court.

"It's part of those new experimental rules," quipped Barnes, who added that the game officials did not pick up on the fact that Texas had an extra man until Mean Green coach Johnny Jones alerted them six seconds into the play.

Senior G Leonard Hopkins freebies following the technical made it a 17-6 ballgame. Back-to-back treys from Taylor and G Sydmill Harris made it a 24-11 contest. Hopkins' shot from beyond the arc trimmed the Longhorn lead to single digits, 24-18, with just more than five minutes remaining until intermission.

Texas closed the opening frame with a 15-2 run, beginning with sophomore F P.J. Tucker's acrobatic bucket on the feed from Buckman as the Horns led 33-22. Taylor followed with his third three-pointer of the first half while Buckman recorded consecutive offensive boards and putbacks, building a 40-24 cushion. It was an off night for G Daniel Gibson (2-of-8, 8 points), who suffered a deep thigh bruise in practice this week. The freshman misfired on his first four FG attempts but nailed a nothing-but-net three-pointer as time expired to send Texas into the locker room with a 46-24 halftime lead.

Taylor's floater doubled-up the Mean Green, 50-25, nearly two minutes into the second period. Consecutive turnaround jumpers from Klotz made it 55-30 with little more than 15 minutes remaining. His bucket on the dish from Gibson upped the Longhorn lead to 27. But the Mean Green launched a 17-4 run, capped by G Marqus Mitchell's three-pointer and layup on successive trips. North Texas trailed 61-47 with little more than 9:30 left.

Gibson's second trey ignited a 14-2 Longhorn run that included a crowd-pleasing (6,482 in attendance) alley-oop to Aldridge who slammed it home with 7:03 remaining. Not to be outdone, Tucker drove from mid court off the steal and assist from Taylor for another thunderous dunk as Texas regained its 25-point cushion at 74-49. Indicative of the evening, Texas' front court took over as Buckman, Klotz and Aldridge combined to score Texas' final 12 points of the ball game.

Texas shot 33-of-71 (45 percent) from the field including 7-of-16 (44 percent) from beyond the arc. The Horns, who have limited their first six opponents to a combined 37.3 FG shooting, held the Mean Green to 22-of-71 FG (31 percent) and just 5-of-28 (18 percent) from three-point range.

The Horns checked in at No. 13 (Coaches Poll) and No. 14 (Associated Press) in this week's rankings released Monday.

"Texas is very deserving of their national ranking and probably should be ranked higher," Jones observed.

The Horns host UT-Arlington, 7 p.m., December 15, on a Fox Sports Southwest statewide broadcast before traveling to No. 4 Wake Forest on December 18.

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