Men's Basketball topples Lenoir-Rhyne, 98-64, in exhibition game
AUSTIN, Texas -- Freshman swingman Damion James posted 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead Texas to a 98-64 victory against Lenoir-Rhyne College in the Longhorns' exhibition opener Tuesday night before 2,930 fans at the Frank Erwin Center. Texas coach Rick Barnes is a 1977 graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne, a Division II school in Hickory, N.C.
James was one of five Longhorns to reach double figures in scoring during the evening. Sophomore guard A.J. Abrams paced Texas with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting (4-of-8 threes), while freshman swingman Kevin Durant added 16 points. Sophomore forward/center Connor Atchley tallied 12 points (3-of-6 threes), and freshman forward/center Matt Hill registered 10 points.
"Early on, our guys were jumpy and a little uptight," Barnes said. "That was no surprise for their first time out. Once they settled down, defensively, I thought overall they did a pretty good job. There was a lot more good than bad for a first time out."
Texas, which never trailed in the contest, jumped out to a 15-6 lead following an Abrams lay-up at the 12:39 mark. Leading 17-10, the Longhorns used an Abrams three-pointer, an Atchley free throw and a J.D. Lewis three-pointer to build a 24-10 advantage with 6:00 left. After the Bears used back-to-back baskets by Josh Kindred to cut the gap to 27-17 at the 5:02 mark, Texas responded with an 18-5 run to close the half and take a 45-22 lead at the break. UT had nine assists against just one turnover in the opening 20 minutes.
Texas increased its advantage to 31 points (59-28) on another Abrams three at the 16:33 mark and did not allow the margin to fall below 28 points for the remainder of the night. All 11 scholarship players on the Texas roster scored at least two points during the victory.
Freshman guard D.J. Augustin contributed eight points and seven assists against just one turnover, while Lewis also added eight points (2-of-4 threes). On the evening, the Horns recorded 16 assists against just five turnovers. Lenoir-Rhyne was paced by Kindred's 12 points and Donte Watson with 10 points.
Texas concludes its exhibition season with a home contest against Division II Xavier (La.) University on Monday, Nov. 6. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Erwin Center. The Horns open the 2006-07 regular season with a home tilt against Alcorn State in the opening round of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer on Thursday, Nov. 9. Tip is set for 8:30 p.m. at the Erwin Center.
On key players who helped the team calm down early: I thought A.J. [Abram]'s presence helped us out early on. I was really impressed with Damion [James]; he really set the tone for us. He might be as durable of a freshman as we've ever had.
A.J. Abrams, Sophomore Guard
On his feelings from tonight's game: I was a little nervous today. It was my first game as a college player. I just wanted to play defense, play hard and I'm glad we got the win today.
On his team's performance: Our guys came into this game really excited, it is a really big trip for us, and it took us about 20 minutes to get calmed down. There were some good parts and bad parts for the first half, we out-rebounded them by one, but the turnovers really cost us. In Division II level, some of our passes would go through, but against Texas, they just created turnovers off those passes.