AUSTIN, Texas -- Senior forward Brad Buckman posted a game-high 18 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore forward LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to lead No. 2 Texas to a 97-36 victory against Lenoir-Rhyne College in the Longhorns' final exhibition game Wednesday night before 10,985 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..
Aldridge had his second straight impressive outing, converting 6-of-10 field goals and 4-of-5 free throws in 25 minutes of work. In UT's two exhibition contests, Aldridge averaged a team-best 18.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while hitting 13-of-23 (.565) field goals and 11-of-14 (.786) free throws in just 23.5 minutes per contest.
Buckman connected on 7-of-11 from the field and 3-of-4 from the free throw line while adding four steals and three blocks in 26 minutes. Sophomore guard J.D. Lewis also reached double figures in scoring with 11 points (2-of-5 threes).
"We played hard tonight," Barnes said. "We were overly aggressive tonight. Our team as a whole was very conscious of following the things we asked them to improve on."
Texas, which never trailed in the contest, jumped out to a 12-4 lead following an Aldridge jumper at the 16:21 mark. The Bears closed the gap to six points on three occasions in the following four minutes, but that was as close as Lenoir-Rhyne would come for the remainder of the night. Leading 16-10 with 12:35 left, the Longhorns used a 9-0 spurt to increase their lead to 25-10 by the 8:05 mark. Texas then scored the final 11 points of the opening 20 minutes to build a 46-18 halftime advantage. UT held the Bears to just 26.7% (8-of-30) shooting in the first half.
UT scored the first seven points of the second half, increasing its lead to 53-18 with 18:46 left. The margin grew to 50 points (75-25) at the 10:58 mark and reached 60 (96-36) with 31 seconds left in the contest. All 11 players on the Texas roster scored at least three points during the win.
The Horns converted 52.2 percent from the floor, including 62.5 percent (20-of-32) in the second half, and hit 19-of-24 (.792) from the free throw line on the night. Lenoir-Rhyne was paced by Donte Watson with 10 points. Watson was the lone Bear to reach double digits in scoring.
Texas 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. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Erwin Center.
Head Coach John Lentz
On the Texas team: They are much better than they were last year. They have had a year of experience. They've been to war.
On Brad Buckman: Brad Buckman is great. He can shoot the three, post you up, that makes him really difficult to guard.
On his team's play: Our guys played hard. I thought we played well for the first 10 to 12 minutes. But we missed a couple of open shots and the young kids got a little frustrated after the half. But this game helps us.
Head Coach Rick Barnes
On Brad Buckman: His decision-making was better tonight than it has been. He worked really hard tonight to do the things we asked him to improve on, one of which is staying in his stance on the defensive end of things. He's got excellent hands; obviously he had a couple good blocks and he was a good bit bigger than the person he was guarding. But we asked him to be more sustained on defense and he did that.
On Texas' play: We played hard tonight. We were overly aggressive tonight and we did a good job of doing what you do against pressure. They drove the ball at us and we extended our defense. The team as a whole was very conscious of following the things we asked them to improve on.
On zone defense: We'll play zone this year. We put a big zone out there today. How much zone we will play, I don't know, but we will play a good bit of zone this season. I would imagine we will use it in every game at some point in time. There might be a few where we don't use it, but you will see the zone.
On his jump shots: Just trying to be versatile and do different things for the team. I work on all aspects of my game all the time.
On bench play: It definitely is a chance to do something big for us. Coach always says the 6-7-8-9 guys have to be just as good as your 1-2-3-4 guys because they have to be able to step in there and make something happen.
On his confidence level: I feel so much stronger, and I'm making good sound moves this year. My teammates are working to get me the ball. I just feel so much stronger and I'm not getting pushed out of the paint like I did last year.
On Lenoir-Rhyne: It's the same principal whether you play a team that is short or tall; trying to post deep and playing low is what I try to do no matter who I am playing.
On LaMarcus Aldridge: He's just incredible. He is so long and an incredible athlete that he is such a big asset to this team and to me. When he is playing well, then he can feed off of me and I can feed off of him and it can be really fun.