Hoops: Home embarrassment; Ags beat Horns 80-74

UT's recent charmed life on the court, which saw it eke out a win over Tech in Lubbock in OT a little over a week ago and then overcome Nebraska with a late second half run, ended Wednesday night in the Erwin Center.

Texas A&M, which hadn't won in Austin since 1987, ended the Horns' six-game January winning streak and also put to rest a 16-game streak over the Aggies with a 80-74 shocker in the Erwin Center.

After last Saturday's Nebraska game, Fredie Williams said UT's goal is to win the Big 12 championship. "And we can't do that losing at home," the senior guard added. Well, it may be too early to officially kiss a league championship goodbye (although the Horns' No. 24 national ranking is definitely history), but this home loss leaves Texas puckered and waiting.

Rick Barnes, while obviously disappointed in his team's play, tried to downplay the significance of the loss.

"This is a game that we can't make bigger than it is," Barnes said post-game. "We've gotta learn from it and get better. I've said all along this time of year that you can't start feeling good about yourself. You've gotta continue to improve and we've improved . . . (but tonight) we couldn't buy a basket. We had looks. We had looks from 10 feet and we had shots go in and out. That's part of this game but you've got to find ways to win."

Texas didn't.

The Horns hit just 35.8-percent from the field and made a miserable 9.5-percent from the arc. Texas didn't hit a single three-pointer in the first half and just two of 13 in the decisive second half.

Despite the Horns' horrendous shooting, it's a minor miracle that the Aggies were even in the game at the half after turning the ball over 15 times over the first 20 minutes. A&M's hot shooting and huge rebounding edge, which lasted throughout the night, kept the Ags close to the favored Horns.

Bernard King scored 12 first half points and the entire A&M team hit 59.1-percent of its first half field goal attempts but because of the Ags' turnover troubles, Texas held a 36-32 halftime lead.

That cushion lasted all of two second half possessions.

The Aggies (8-11, 2-3) hit their first seven shots after the break and outscored the Horns 20-3 to build a 52-39 lead less than five minutes into the half.

Texas battled back, pulling within three points at 60-57 with 8:25 to play, but despite multiple opportunities, the Horns could get no closer. A&M hit 20 of 23 second half free throws (87-percent), most of those coming during the game's final minutes as Texas fouled out of desperation, and finished 23 of 27 from the line for the game.

The Ags' percentages from the field almost measured up to those from the stripe. A&M made 25 of 42 field goal attempts, including a blistering seven of 12 (58.3-percent) from downtown. The Aggies outrebounded the Horns 37-27.

King led the visitors in scoring with 30 points.

James Thomas paced the Texas scorers with 15 points. Deginald Erskin added a career-high 14 points and Brian Boddicker totaled 13.

A&M's triangle and two defense, the same defense that effectively shut down the Texas scorers at Utah, frustrated the Horns all night.

"We didn't get enough post feeds from our perimeter players," the Texas head coach said. "I thought our post guys did a good job but we didn't get anything from the perimeter guys getting the ball where it needed to be."

"We got too impatient," he added. "We wanted to run, we took some quick shots and we forgot about the guys inside."

Texas (13-5, 4-1) next travels to Baylor for a Saturday night 8 p.m. contest with the Bears and with a similar performance to tonight's the Horns can truly forget that league title goal Williams talked about last Saturday.

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