Jan. 29, 2011
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Longhorns are tearing up the Big 12 and showing no signs of slowing down.
Jordan Hamilton had 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and No. 7 Texas beat No. 11 Missouri 71-58 Saturday night to remain undefeated in the Big 12.
The Longhorns (18-3, 6-0) have won six in a row overall and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Tigers (17-4, 3-3).
Texas had another stellar defensive effort, holding the highest-scoring team in the Big 12 to its lowest point total of the season. Texas is holding Big 12 opponents to 54 points per game.
"Good defense beats good offense on any given night," Texas senior forward Gary Johnson said. "That's what we do."
Like the five teams before them in Texas' run, the Tigers came away impressed by the Longhorns' bruising play near the baskets.
"There's no secret how they play," Missouri guard Kim English said. "They are a physical team. They pressure the ball. Big, strong guys."
Hamilton, Johnson and freshman Tristan Thompson dominated the paint on both ends of the court. Johnson had 15 points and nine rebounds and Thompson had 13 rebounds.
Missouri boasts that the Tigers play the "fastest 40 minutes of basketball," but ran smack into a defensive wall in this one. Texas raced to a 10-0 lead behind 3-pointers by Hamilton and Cory Joseph and Thompson's muscular rebounding.
Thompson also caught Missouri forward Laurence Bowers on the chin with an elbow that knocked Bowers out of the game with 12 minutes left in the first half. Bowers, who averages 11.5 points and had just scored two straight baskets, was wobbly when he got to his feet and had to be helped to the locker room.
"I thought there were a lot of loose elbows out there," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "It might have been a mild concussion. He took a big-time elbow."
Johnson and Hamilton both scored 10 points in the first half for Texas. Missouri stayed within striking distance when Phil Pressey made a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to pull the Tigers to 38-27 at halftime. Pressey led Missouri with 12 points.
Missouri managed to slow down the Longhorns in the second but couldn't make a run of their own to threaten the Texas lead.
Marcus Denmon's putback pulled the Tigers within eight before Thompson revived the home crowd with a two-handed dunk off a backdoor pass from Hamilton, then blocked a shot by Denmon on the other end. Time and again, the lanky freshman muscled over one and sometimes two Tigers to grab the ball.
"He has been really blowing up on a lot of people," Anderson said.
Michael Dixon made a 3-pointer for Missouri, but the Longhorns responded with quick baskets by J'Covan Brown and Joseph that pushed the lead back to 53-42.
Texas misfires from the free throw line kept Missouri hanging around. The Longhorns missed 11 of their first 14 free throws of the second half and went 16 of 34 for the game.
Texas finally put the game away when Johnson made one of two free throws and Hamilton grabbed the rebound on the miss and immediately went back up for a basket.
"I saw it was going to come off the back rim. I thought it gave us a spark," Hamilton said.
After Missouri's next three possessions finished in a turnover and two misses, a layup by Brown finished a Texas fast break for a 66-53 lead with just over 2 minutes to play.
Texas' impressive early run in the Big 12 includes wins over No. 6 Kansas and No. 13 Texas A&M. The Longhorns face a rematch with the Aggies on Monday night.
Johnson promised more rugged, physical defense.
"We lost to a team that played that way at Pittsburgh," Johnson said. "We didn't like it."
Head coach Rick Barnes
On this game being a defensive showdown: I thought it was a really hard fought game. In some ways, it may have been the toughest game we've been through all year. They are relentless, and there is just no quit in them. We had some chances to maybe break it up a little bit more, because when you have an 11 or 12 point lead against Missouri, it is not enough because they can be so explosive with their offense. And again, they are just going to work so hard to disrupt your offense with their defense. But I thought overall, especially defensively, we were able to do some really good things. I thought Jordan Hamilton has played the best game he has played since he has been at Texas. I thought he had an all-around game. His passes were really good, and he played really well. Cory [Joseph] did a lot of really good things, especially defensively. It was a really good win for us against a team that doesn't quit.
On their defensive execution: You are so concerned when you play Missouri, because they were averaging 23 points off turnovers coming in, so it also places a premium on taking care of the ball. Of the 15 turnovers that we had, three or four of them were our mistake when we tried to put the ball in the post at bad angles. I know we turned it over three times trying to feed the post, but we can live with those. But if you turn the ball over and allow them to get out in the open-court, they are really explosive. So, we talked a lot about transition defense.
Senior forward Gary Johnson
On the team's execution in the half court: Obviously that was the game plan going in. We got a lot of points in the paint. That was the key to the game. We realized we could get it inside. That's what we tried to do tonight.
On the team's physical play: We lost to a team that played us that way in Pittsburgh and we didn't like it. We kind of put it into our system, me, Tristan (Thompson) and Jordan (Hamilton) try to be physical.
Sophomore guard/forward Jordan Hamilton
On his rebound and score off of a free throw towards the end of the game: I saw that it was going to come off the back rim, and I saw the guy go in and I stepped in front of him. I think it gave us a spark. We just played defense. We've got to do a better job at the free throw line. We're going to work on that.
On the team's rebounding: Tristan (Thompson) is a big-time shot blocker. When you can contest shots a lot of shots are coming off. I just go down and try to rebound as much as possible.
Freshman guard Cory Joseph
On starting the game up 10-0: We try to start off strong and just retain it. We try to start off strong every game. Some games we get off to slow starts. Some games we get off to fast starts. We just try to retain that.
Head Coach Mike Anderson
Opening Statement: It was a very physical ball game number one, and unfortunately we had a guy get an elbow to the head. That was one thing that worried about, and I saw a lot of loose elbows out there. One of our best players went down, but I was proud of our best effort. In relation to Texas, I think Rick has done a great job with this team, I think they're one of the hottest teams in the country, and tonight I think they showed why. We made a couple runs at them, we got down early and then Phil (Pressey) hit one at half time that gave us a little momentum. We cut it to seven we just couldn't muster enough to get enough stops. You look at our basketball team, and we're the ultimate team. We are one of those teams who really share the basketball. We had six assists - that tells me that we didn't play some of our best basketball. I am proud of our guys for what they did. They came into a hostile environment and they scratched and crawled and just came up a little short.
On Laurence Bowers' condition: We don't know at this point. He might have a mild concussion. He took a hard elbow and made the shot. There was a lot of loose elbows going on out there.
On Tristan Thompson: He did a good job with 13 rebounds. He has been really been blowing up on a lot of people. I thought the player that played well tonight for them was Gary Johnson, being a veteran. Cory Joseph did a good job, and (Dogus) Balbay did a good job of just directing the ship. They are a good basketball team.
Junior guard Kim English
On Texas' defense: They did great. It is no secret how they play - they are a physical team, fast to the ball, and big, strong guys. They are much improved from last year, defensively and offensively.
On the loss of Laurence Bowers for the game: In the flow of the game you kind of forget, you are out there with your five guys. I don't know what he averages, but that is probably seven less rebounds and 11 or 12 less points, so we definitely missed him. But coach always says when guys go down, there will be someone ready to step up, and we didn't do a good job of that. But he was missed.
Senior forward Justin Stafford
On if they felt like they were still in the game until the end: It was just that we couldn't get over that hump. We did a couple things to shoot ourselves in the foot.
Texas started 6-0 in Big 12 Conference play for the first time since the start of the league
Texas started 6-0 in conference play for the first time since 1989-90 when they started 6-0 in Southwest Conference action
Texas is holding Big 12 opponents to 54.2 points per game
Texas held Missouri to season lows in points (58 - previous low 66 vs. Western Illinois), field goal percentage (.339 - previous low .383 vs. Vanderbilt), three-point field goal percentage (.222 - previous low .250 vs. Colorado) and assists (6 - previous low 12 on two occasions). Missouri entered the game averaging 85.0 points per game and shooting .475 from the field, including .382 from three-point range
In the first half, Texas held Missouri to its lowest half point total of the season with 27 points. The Tigers were also held to 27 points in the first half of their 75-64 win over Illinois
Texas owned a rebounding edge for the 18th time in 21 games on the season
Texas improved to 12-10 all-time against Missouri, including 10-4 during the Rick Barnes era
Texas held Missouri scoreless until the 14:18 mark of the first half
Texas improved to 178-23 (.886) at the Erwin Center in the Rick Barnes era, including 84-15 (.848) in Big 12 Conference home games
Texas improved to 29-11 (.725) against AP Top 25 opponents under Rick Barnes at home, including 2-1 this season
Texas improved to 5-2 against AP Top 25 teams this season
Texas owns a +18.5 edge in scoring margin through the first six conference games
Equaled a season high with five assists, matching his total against Illinois
Registered a double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) for the sixth time this season and the seventh time in his career (55 games)
Reached double digits in scoring for the 20th time this season and the 38th time in his career (55 games)
Reached double digits in rebounding for the sixth time in his career and the seventh time in his career
Recorded a career high with 13 rebounds, topping his career high of 11 set on three prior occasions including twice this season
Equaled a season high with five assists, matching his total against Texas State
Reached the 1,000-point mark for his career with his field goal at the 6:15 mark of the first half. He ended the game with 1,010 points to become the 31st player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau
Reached double digits in scoring (15 points) for the 14th time this season and the 50th time in his career (109 games)
Reached double digits in scoring (13 points) for the 12th time this season
Reached double digits in rebounding (13 rebounds) for the fourth time this season