Men's Basketball tops St. Mary's 113-49 in exhibition opener
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sophomore forward LaMarcus Aldridge posted a game-high 21 points to lead Texas to a 113-49 victory against Division II St. Mary's (San Antonio, Texas) in the Longhorns' exhibition opener on Wednesday night before 9,512 fans at the Frank Erwin Center.
The contest marked Aldridge's first game action since Jan. 15, 2005, when he suffered a left hip injury in a game at Nebraska that ended his freshman season. Aldridge hit 7-of-13 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free throw line while grabbing seven rebounds in 22 minutes of work.
Aldridge paced six Longhorns in double-figure scoring on the night. Sophomore forward Mike Williams had 18 points (8-of-8 FT), and junior forward P.J. Tucker posted 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Sophomore guard J.D. Lewis registered 14 points, while senior forward Brad Buckman added 12 points and freshman guard A.J. Abrams tallied 11 points, six assists and five steals.
"I felt great out there," Aldridge said. "There was no pain and no soreness (from last year's injury). I actually felt better than I did before the injury, as I'm stronger and quicker now. We were just excited to start the season again and were ready to get back out in that atmosphere."
Texas, which never trailed in the contest, jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the opening seven minutes before the Rattlers finally got on the board on a Joe Allen jumper at the 13:15 mark. The Horns held St. Mary's to 34.8% shooting from the floor and forced 16 turnovers in the opening stanza while building a 60-23 edge by halftime.
UT scored eight of the first 10 points to open the second half, increasing its lead to 68-25 with 17:07 left. Leading 79-32 at the 13:52 mark, the Longhorns used an 8-0 spurt over the next 90 seconds to push the margin to 55 points (87-32). All 11 players on the Texas roster scored in the contest.
The Horns converted 57.4% from the floor and hit 31-of-40 free throws on the evening. Texas also posted a 44-23 advantage on the glass and forced 33 turnovers. St. Mary's was paced by Jarvis Lee with 12 points. Lee was the only Rattler to reach double digits in scoring.
Texas concludes its exhibition schedule with a home game against Division II Lenoir-Rhyne (Hickory, N.C.) on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Tip is slated for 7 p.m. at the Erwin Center. UT tips off the 2005-06 regular season with a home matchup against Southern in the opening round of the Guardians Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15 (7:30 p.m.) at the Erwin Center.
On his team's effort: I was a little bit disappointed in our effort overall. I thought it'd be a little more competitive situation than it was.
On LaMarcus Aldridge's play: I'm not surprised by his play. He works hard, competes in practice, he's talented and can run all day long. He will continue to get better.
On P.J. Tucker tonight: I'm not surprised by how he played. He was really amped up, but he was not as clean as he probably will be.
On Mike Williams: He has improved a lot. He worked hard. We wanted to see how hard he could play, and he did that. He made some great effort plays, and I think he is more relaxed this year.
On the play of Craig Winder: He played with a lot of energy. He's a smart player. I'd have to say he's the best communicator on the team. He's very conscious of his role on the team.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Sophomore Forward
On tonight's game: It felt like a regular season game. Coach [Rick] Barnes kept telling us to play hard, we can't get comfortable or let up. We were just excited to start the season again, ready to get back out in that atmosphere. When everybody took naps earlier, I just couldn't sit still.
A.J. Abrams, Freshman Guard
Mike Williams, Sophomore Forward