Horns Cruise on Abrams' 30

Junior guard A.J. Abrams put up a career-high 30 points on Sunday to help the Longhorns (3-0) top Arkansas-Monticello (0-2) 100-52 in the second game of the StubHub Legends Classic.

"My teammates did a pretty good job of finding me and I was stroking them pretty good tonight," A.J. Abrams explained. He doesn't think his teammates and practice were the only things that contributed to his game though.

"I think I might stick to (eating) Fruit Loops," he admitted.

He should because of his first nine baskets, seven were 3 pointers.

The Horns as a team hit 15 three-pointers to come three shy of a school record. Abrams, who totaled 11-for-17, accounted for more than half of these by draining 8-of-12 attempts. Overall, Texas hit 56.1 percent from the field, dominating Arkansas-Monticello's 23.9 shooting percent and 17-for-71 effort.

Freshman forward Alexis Wangmene lead the team with eight boards. Sophomores D.J. Augustin and Justin Mason tied to lead the team with six assists each. Augustin put up 8 points, two rebounds and donated two three-pointers to the Horns' near-record breaking effort. Mason hit 10-of-4 with two rebounds during his 28 minutes on the court.

Absent from the court was freshmen forward Gary Johnson who was diagnosed this summer with a heart condition. Although he saw time against Xavier, La. in exhibition, he has yet to be cleared for any regular season play. Also out were Matt Hill (left heel) and freshman Dogus Balbay, who recently had surgery on his right knee and will remain sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Playing a Division II team gave Coach Rick Barnes the opportunity to work out a few remaining kinks and test some of the weaknesses of his players.

"Tonight a couple of guys were tired. I left them in because they need to learn how to play tired" Barnes said post-game. "We had some lineups out there that we haven't put out at all. It got a little ragged at times but we did well"

Defensively, any tinkering Barnes may have done worked very well. Texas limited Arkansas-Monticello to only 3-of-33 from the field and 11 points the first half, the lowest allowed by the horns since 1949. The Horns' impressive defensive effort allowed them to go on a 20-point run to close out the first half.

"We have a chance to be a great defensive team," said Damion James, expressing a sentiment shared by anyone who watched the game.

The only serious disappointment Barnes expressed was directed at Arkansas–Monticello's ability to get 27 offensive rebounds. So how does he plan to prevent it in the future?

"Score more," Barnes quipped.

Freshmen guard Justin Johnson led the Boll Weevils in scoring with four three-pointers. He shot 6-for-16 overall with six rebounds. Junior guard Duke Sturdivant tied Johnson in rebounds with Bernard Seymour joining them in a three-way tie for the lead.

Arkansas-Monticello coach Mike Newell was quick to give the Longhorns credit for being well coached and fun to watch.

"It's definitely a learning experience for us. We are very young and have all new players. We are still searching for an identity from the standpoint of players" Newell explained. "(The players) all come in thinking they should be Division I and now they know why they are Division II"

The Longhorns next take on New Mexico State in Newark, N.J. on Nov. 23.


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