No. 2 Men's Basketball defeats Samford, 77-33
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Two games, two easy wins. Throw in a smothering defensive performance and the No. 2 Texas Longhorns are pretty pleased with the start of the new season.
P.J. Tucker had 22 points and eight rebounds and Texas overwhelmed Samford defensively in a 77-33 victory Wednesday night in the second round of the Guardians Classic tournament.
Texas held the Bulldogs to 13 points in the first half, matching the second-fewest points allowed in a first half by the Longhorns since the 1949-50 season. The Texas record is 12, a mark accomplished twice, most recently in last season's 97-52 win over Centenary.
The Longhorns also outrebounded Samford 54-15. The plus-39 margin smashed the old school record of 33. And the 33 points allowed matched the fewest surrendered since a 33-32 loss to Texas A&M in 1951.
The Longhorns (2-0) now move on to the tournament's next round Monday in Kansas City, where they'll meet No. 14 West Virginia, a team that that came within one win of reaching the Final Four last season.
"West Virginia is a real good team. They made an unbelievable run in the tournament," Tucker said. "We just went against a zone, so we got a little time to get ready for it."
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Longhorns who just missed having three players record double-doubles. Brad Buckman finished with nine points and nine boards.
"It gets pretty selfish out there" rebounding, Buckman said. "That's our goal every game."
Although the numbers were ugly by the end, Samford (1-1) served up an early lesson in frustration for the Longhorns using a zone defense that drew Texas fouls and a slow-paced Princeton offense that kept the Texas offense in check.
While Aldridge was 4-of-6 shooting with seven rebounds in the first half, Texas point guard Daniel Gibson went to the bench after two offensive fouls and the Longhorns generally looked out of sync with nine turnovers.
"It's great for us to face a team like that," Buckman said. "It really forces us to play great defense."
Texas made up for the offensive miscues with a 28-8 rebounding edge in the half and a defensive effort that held smaller and slower Samford to 5-of-23 shooting. Overall, Texas held Samford to 26 percent shooting -- 13-of-50.
"I thought that the first half, we really battled them. (But) our defensive energy really continued to fall," said Samford coach Jimmy Tillette.
Texas led 11-5 before Tucker and Aldridge scored eight straight points. J.D. Lewis hit two 3-pointers as the Longhorns built the lead to 25-13. Tucker closed the half with consecutive layups, the second on a steal and fast break with 12 seconds left, to make it 30-13.
The Longhorns offense started clicking in the second. Tucker and Aldridge teamed up for the comical highlight of the game when a Samford pass bounced off the back of Tucker's head right to Aldridge, who lofted the ball back to Tucker to finish a fast break with a dunk.
A.J. Abrams hit consecutive 3-pointers as the Longhorns built the lead to 59-26 with 10 minutes left.
A night after hitting 10 3-pointers in their season opener, the Longhorns went 6-of-20 from long range. The tournament is using an experimental distance of 20 feet, nine inches, one foot deeper than normal.
Travis Peterson led Samford with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting on 3-pointers.
On practicing his shots: During the summer, I just practiced shooting as much as possible. I worked on ball handling and several other parts of the game. I really want to try and show that improvement out there.
Sophomore Guard J.D. Lewis
On getting his shot going: It feels really good to be able to get in there and knock down some shots. I have so much confidence in my shot and really feel like I can hit it from just about anywhere on the court. LaMarcus [Aldridge] got me open on all of my shots. It is always nice to have teammates like that.
Senior Forward Brad Buckman
On P.J. Tucker's confidence: To see P.J. shoot the ball is amazing. He worked his tail off this summer on his shot. He and coach really wanted to gel his shot so he could be the outside threat. He can really knock them down now.