Feb. 5, 2011
Box Score | Photo Gallery | Box Score | Notes | Quotes
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - In the first meeting a few weeks ago, No. 3 Texas romped over Texas Tech by 31 points. Halfway through the rematch, the Longhorns looked well on their way to doing it again.
Then the shots stopped going in and Texas started giving up drives to the basket and open looks from 3-point range. That perfect start to the Big 12 season suddenly looked very, very fragile.
Then J'Covan Brown, who provided the big spark in a big win over No. 2 Kansas, nailed two 3-pointers about 90 seconds apart and the Longhorns pulled away for a 76-60 victory Saturday night.
"That's pretty much been his role throughout the year," said Texas senior forward Gary Johnson, who had 16 points. "That's what we need him for, a spark off the bench. Especially in games like this."
Jordan Hamilton had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Longhorns (20-3, 8-0), who are off to their best start in the Big 12.
John Roberson scored 16 points for Texas Tech (11-13, 3-6), which whittled a 21-point Texas lead down to six midway through the second half.
"We were just down too many," Texas Tech coach Pat Knight said. "You make a run on them, but eventually you run out of gas."
Everything pointed to another rout when the Longhorns shot a blistering 57 percent in the first half, picking and choosing open shots all over the court. Hamilton was 4 of 6 from long range in the half and Tristan Thompson made all four of his shots.
Cory Joseph set an early tone with a steal and dunk symbolic of the kind of fast and physical play the Longhorns have used to tear through the first half of the Big 12 season.
Joseph poked the ball away from Texas Tech's Mike Singletary and both players sprinted toward the basket. Joseph went up, drew a foul and still finished the dunk while Singletary fell on his backside. The three-point play made it 20-8 and came early in a 17-5 Texas run as the Longhorns built the lead as high as 21 in the first half.
"When you're making shots, it's always really pretty. But even when we were out there with the lead, (Texas Tech) battled," Texas coach Rick Barnes said.
The Red Raiders steadily chipped away. Texas had held its first seven Big 12 opponents to 19 percent shooting on 3-pointers, but Roberson made three in the half to get Texas Tech within 16. Jay Crockett's twisting layup capped a 7-0 run to start the second while the Longhorns missed their first six shots.
"I told them (at halftime) this was a different team than we played in Lubbock," Barnes said. "We missed some shots and we let down mentally."
The Texas offense that was so smooth in the first half was misfiring from everywhere. Thompson missed three in a row, Johnson's dependable mid-range jumper started rattling around the rim and Texas Tech trimmed the lead to 53-47 on David Tairu's three-point play with 11:20 left.
Brown bailed out Texas before the Red Raiders could get any closer.
Quiet until then, Brown made his two big shots and Johnson made a baseline jumper that put the Longhorns up by 14 and back in control.
The cushion was critical for Texas. The Longhorns struggled to string together consecutive baskets but managed to hold onto the double-digit lead and grind the game away.
"The more you play this game, you start to understand this is a game of runs," Brown said. "Tech made a good run, coach called a timeout to get us settled down and we came out and responded real good."
Brown made another heady play when the ball was knocked from his hands, but he still managed to tip it to Hamilton before Matt Hill finished the play with a layup to put Texas up 67-52.
Texas has won all of its Big 12 games by double digits and didn't expect to have to fight so hard for this one.
"I think it was good for us tonight," Johnson said. "We matured through it and we came out with a win."
Texas has not trailed at home in any of its four conference games
The last time Texas trailed in a game was the first half of the game at Oklahoma State (25-23 - 4:04). Dogus Balbay hit two free throws to tie the game at 25-25. Texas has gone the last 144:04 without trailing.
Texas reached the 20-win mark on the earliest calendar date in school history (Feb. 5). The previous mark was Feb. 6 (set during the 2005-06 season when the Horns also went 20-3 to start the season. The 20th victory during the 2005-06 season came at Texas Tech
This marks the seventh time in program history (second in the Rick Barnes era) that the Longhorns have started the year with at least 20 wins in their first 23 contests. The last time Texas accomplished the feat was the 2005-06 season when the Longhorns started 20-3
Texas reached the 20-win mark for the 12th straight season. The Horns have reached the mark in all but one of Rick Barnes' seasons in Austin
Texas improved to a perfect 13-0 in Austin against the Red Raiders in the Rick Barnes era and won its 15th consecutive home game against Texas Tech
Texas improved to 25-3 against Texas Tech in the Rick Barnes era
Texas won eight consecutive conference games by 10 or more games for the first time since 1993-94 when the Horns won eight in a row by double-digit margins between Jan. 15, 1994 and Feb. 15, 1994
Texas started a conference season with eight consecutive wins by 10 or more points for the first time since the 1921-22 season
Texas started 8-0 in conference play for the first time since 1977-78 when they started 9-0 in Southwest Conference action
Texas improved to 179-23 (.886) at the Erwin Center in the Rick Barnes era, including 85-15 (.850) in Big 12 Conference home games
Texas has held seven of its eight Big 12 opponents under 40.0% shooting from the field
Texas is holding Big 12 opponents to 54.3 points per game
Texas owned a rebounding edge for the 20th time in 23 games on the season
Texas owns a +18.4 edge in scoring margin through the first eight conference games
Texas improved to 108-15 (.878) against in-state foes during the Rick Barnes era
Texas shot 50.0% or higher from three-point range for the fifth time this season
Texas shot 50.0% or higher from the field for the eighth time this season
Texas' 46 first-half points was a season high, topping the 45 points the Longhorns scored against Illinois in New York and Texas A&M at College Station
Reached double digits in scoring (10 points) for the ninth time this season and the 24th time in his career (56 games)
Reached double digits in scoring (16 points) for the 22nd time this season and the 40th time in his career (57 games)
Reached double digits in scoring (16 points) for the 15th time this season and 51st time in his career (111 games)
Reached double digits in scoring (11 points) for the 18th time this season
Registered three or more blocks in a game for the eighth time this season
Became the third freshmen in school history to register 50 or more blocked shots in a season, joining Chris Mihm (90 - 1997-98) and Kevin Durant (67 - 2006-07) with 52
Head coach Rick Barnes
Opening statement: I thought we came out in the first half and our defense was really good. Obviously when you're making shots like we were it's always really pretty. Texas Tech kept fighting and they played hard. I told the team those guys battled, they played hard and they definitely have improved a lot. At halftime, I told our team that this a different team than we played in Lubbock. They came in tonight and I thought showed great poise, worked hard and got themselves back in the game. Then we missed some shots; we may have let down mentally. I think all that credit goes to Tech.
On their defensive execution: Defense has a lot to do with where we have been. I thought that Gary Johnson's defense was terrific. Matt Hill did some really good things when he came in the game. In the second half, Dogus [Balbay] was much better on the defensive end. I thought when we went to try and get some subs in the game early we lost a little bit of our rhythm and that's my fault. Sometimes when you make multiple substitutions you can mess with the flow of the game. Tech is a very hard team to guard and for us to do that is a compliment to our players because they are not an easy team to defend.
Sophmore guard J'Covan Brown
On his role as a spark in the second as the sixth man: I wasn't thinking about nothing really, I passed the ball inside to Tristan(Thompson) and coach always talks about playing inside out, and I tried throwing it into him. I slid, and the man turned his head and you know and I got a great pass from Tristan, and I got an open look so I shot it. So, I give credit to him.
On if he'd like to see the team have to overcome adversity: I would rather not be in that situation, but the more you play this game, you start to understand that this is a game of runs. Tech, made a run and coach called a timeout to get us to settle down, and we came out and responded real good.
Senior forward Gary Johnson
On J'Covan Brown's role on the team: That's pretty much been his role all year it seems. He was big in Kansas, as everyone knows. He's been big all year. That's what we need him for. We need that extra spark off the bench, especially with games like this.
On the second half: We guarded and they hit some tough shots. And we haven't been in a situation like that all year. You know, when a team makes a big run like that. So, I think it was good for us tonight. Obviously we matured through it and we came out with a win.
TEXAS TECH QUOTES
Head Coach Pat Knight
On their performance: Well we were just down too many. When you play against great teams and they get you in double digits, it's hard. You can make a run on them, but then you eventually run out of gas. We had to use some timeouts because our guys were getting tired trying to get over the hump. I thought our guys gave a great effort and really played hard in the second half. I just wished we had started the game that way.
On playing the Longhorns the second time around: I think they're great. I really think this one of Rick's better teams. I'm happy for them. I thought the press was really hard on them last year, which was just ridiculous after everything he's done here. He is Texas basketball. They were pretty good in the past, but he's put them on the map. He's made this into one of the top five programs in the country. For people to treat him like they did last year was awful. This is a great team. They've got good chemistry and great leadership. My dad always jokes with him about his offense. He's got a great offense. It's not one-on-one stuff. They screen. They've got great spacing and five threats out there. I don't want to put pressure on them, but I will enjoy watching them from here on out knowing I won't have to play them again.