Texas Swarms UC-Davis

Texas followed a slow first half with a suffocating second-half defensive effort to surge past the University of California-Davis 73-42 Friday night at the Erwin Center. The game was the Austin Regional Round of the StubHub Legends Classic.

After taking a pedestrian 35-29 halftime lead in front of a crowd of 5,674, Texas applied textbook defense in the second half, shutting out the Aggies in the final 7:55 of the contest. The Longhorns moved to 2-0 on the season while UC-Davis fell to 1-2; Texas hosts Arkansas-Monticello Sunday at 5 p.m.

"I think we improved from the first game the other night," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "In the first half, I think we did a pretty good job of playing defense during their long possessions. Our offense is what hurts us more than anything in the first half. We left 8-10 points on the court from point-blank range in the first half."

Texas quickly gained control of the game in the second half, though. The Longhorns stretched their halftime lead with a 7-2 run to start the second period, then shut out the Aggies over the final 7:55. UC-Davis shot a microscopic 18.2 percent from the floor in the second half, converting just four of 22 shots. The Aggies made only one of 15 three-points tries in the final 20 minutes.

Guard A.J. Abrams led all scorers in the game, scoring 21 points on nine of 15 shooting; he hit three of seven from three-point range. Forward Conner Atchley turned in his second quality performance, hitting five of six shots (and making his only three-point attempt) while scoring 11 points. D.J. Augustin had a double-double night of 10 points to go with 11 assists.

Aggies' guard Shane Hanson was his team's leading scorer with 12 points; no other UC-Davis player reached double figures.

Abrams defied his reputation as exclusively an outside shooter by hitting several field goals from mid- to close-range with an assortment of runners, leaners and scoop shots..

"Everybody's always labeled me as just a three-point shooter, but I've never bought into that," Abrams said. "I've always thought I had a mid-range game."

In addition to Abram's hot hand, the Texas offense was helped immensely by 16 UC-Davis turnovers, resulting in 18 Texas points. The Longhorns also dominated the paint, outscoring the Aggies in that area 30-6.

Forward Damion James was effective for Texas as well, snaring a dozen rebounds to go with nine points. Guard Justin Mason scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds. Center Alexis Wangmene was efficient, scoring eight points and getting four rebounds in 20 minutes of play.

Atchley, though, garnered most of the praise from Barnes.

"Conner plays hard," Barnes said. "He does things that, if you're not watching close, you probably don't notice. We need the rest of the post guys to follow Conner's lead. Conner's gotten better every year. He's playing with a good feel right now."

Atchley also has a good feel for saying exactly what his coach wants to hear.

"We know that to be a good team, we've got to play solid defense," Atchley said. "I'm just trying to play hard all the time, and when I get open, I want to put it in the hole."

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