Texas Wrecks Tech

Despite a rough night shooting from the field -- at least in the first half -- No. 12 Texas (16-3, 3-1 Big 12) cruised to a dominating 73-47 victory over Texas Tech (11-8, 2-3 Big 12), the Horns' 12th straight over the Red Raiders in Austin.

It was ugly. It was poor. It was sloppy.

And it didn't matter.

Texas coasted, unchallenged for most of the game, to a 73-47 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders despite a very forgettable first half. In the opening frame, Texas shot an ugly 35.5 percent (11-for-31) from the field and zero percent from three-point range (0-for-8), but still held a comfortable 28-16 lead, which only grew as the game progressed.

"Early, we were probably trying to do too much," said Texas head coach Rick Barnes. "When you play Texas Tech, you have to play a few possessions before you know how they're going to guard."

Apparently at half time Texas figured out how the Raiders were going to guard. The Longhorns started the second half with a three from D.J. Augustin and never looked back. The Horns looked like a different team on offense, nailing 57.5 percent of their shots (15-of-26) in the second half while also hitting 5-of-9 attempts from outside the arch (55.6 percent).

The biggest shift in production came from A.J. Abrams. The junior guard had only two points at the end of the first half, but finished with 17 points and had four steals to boot. Staying out of foul trouble helped Abrams cause. He only played seven minutes in the first half due to two quick fouls, but didn't commit another for the rest of the contest.

"Fouls are going to happen, tough calls are going to go against you, you just have to stay within your game plan," said Abrams.

Augustin was the game's top scorer, dropping in 19 points to go with his five assists. Augustin had the most consistent performance of any Longhorn through the game, but even he, like all of his teammates, was unable to hit a three in the first half. Augustin told Inside Texas that there wasn't any concern in the locker room at half because he knew the shots would start falling.

"We can't worry about missing shots," said Augustin. "We've just got to play defense and just keep shooting, have confidence."

But for all the numbers, Texas Tech head coach Bob Knight had a much more succinct explanation for the game's outcome.

"The explanation for us is very simple. We got beat by a very good team that played well," said Knight. "I don't think there's anything we could have done."

Knight acknowledged that his team only hitting 17-of-47 of its shots (36.2 percent) certainly didn't help, but he deflected any suggestion that a change in game plan or execution was going to stop Texas, especially the way the Horns were playing Saturday night.

"If it was anything more than that, what would you suggest we do? I think Texas is just damn good," said Knight.

It wasn't just the starters that were good. Texas also got a stronger performance from the bench in Saturday's win. Ten different Longhorns scored points as Texas got key contributions from several players, including center Dexter Pittman (7 points, 5 rebounds, 5-for-5 from the free throw line) and Gary Johnson (5 points, 7 rebounds).

"Overall, I was really happy with our post players. They carried over some of the things we worked on," said Barnes. "We can play small and if these guys (post players) keep developing, we can play it bigger."

Johnson's seven boards was his highest total to date in his short career. Abrams said Texas fans will see great things from Johnson, it'll just take time due to all the games the true freshman missed while waiting to be cleared.

"He's settling in, knowing what the offense wants from him, what the defense wants from him," said Abrams. "He didn't get those games in the beginning, so he's learning on the fly.

A post player who had a relatively low output, though, is Damion James, who had only eight points. James appeared to be drawing extra attention from Tech defenders, so the sophomore forward took the opportunity to pick up a career-high six assists while dumping the ball off the teammates. James also grabbed eight boards, tying for the team lead with center Connor Atchley.

Before the game Knight was honored by Texas for winning his 900th game as a college basketball coach back on January 16th. When he was introduced to the sellout crowd at the Erwin Center, Knight was given a standing ovation.

"I really appreciated that," said Knight. "I think we've always been treated really well down here and I think I've always been treated well down here."

The ceremony was the idea of Barnes, who holds great respect for the legendary coach.

"I've got more admiration for him than any coach around or any coach I've ever known because he's the best," said Barnes.

Up next for the Horns is a trip to College Station to take on No. 18 Texas A&M. Wednesday's game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. tip-off on ESPN 2.

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