Men's Basketball rolls past UT-Pan American
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- When things aren't going well, No. 2 Texas has learned to lean on wiry center LaMarcus Aldridge.
The sophomore got his sixth double-double of the season Tuesday night with a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Longhorns shake off poor shooting in a sloppy 82-54 win over Texas-Pan American.
After missing half of last season with a hip injury, Aldridge has a double-double in every game this season for the Longhorns (6-0), off to their best start since winning their first 14 games in 1981-82.
"LaMarcus has played 22 collegiate games, he's doing pretty good," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "The biggest thing he's adjusting to now [is] his teammates are really looking for him."
P.J. Tucker added 19 points and 11 rebounds for Texas. Mike Williams also had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Longhorns have made a habit of beating up on their weaker state rivals early in the season -- they are 56-5 against Lone Star opponents under Barnes -- and the Broncs hardly figured to be much of a match.
But Pan American made it anything but easy in the early going for the Longhorns, who shot just 37 percent in the first half, including 2-of-12 from 3-point range. Texas missed layups, threw passes into the stands and turned the ball over eight times.
"We were real stagnant," Tucker said. "We got a lot of shots we wanted but we were missing. [But] we don't want to be playing our best basketball right now. Good teams get better as the season goes on."
Tucker, who hit all nine of his shots against Louisiana-Monroe three days earlier, missed his first two Tuesday night and Texas trailed 11-10 before seizing the lead with a defensive effort that kept Pan American scoreless for six minutes in a 10-0 run. Aldridge converted a three-point play and Connor Atchley's putback made it 20-11.
Pan American cut it to 26-21 before Aldridge and Williams helped Texas end any threat of an upset. Aldridge scored the Longhorns' final six points of the half, including a dunk, to send Texas into halftime leading 32-23.
Texas slowly stretched the lead in the second. Williams scored eight points as the Longhorns continued to struggle shooting but built a 48-30 lead with rebounding that produced second and third shots. J.D. Lewis' 3-pointer and Aldridge's rebound and putback off Lewis' miss made it 56-36 with 9:29 left.
Aldridge and Williams combined to grab 12 offensive boards as Texas outrebounded Pan American 48-33.
"We got whipped inside," Pan American coach Robert Davenport said. "Aldridge and Williams, they knew when the ball went up, they could go get it. They had a field day."
Johnathan Chatman and Dexter Shankle each scored 10 points to lead Texas-Pan American (2-4).
Aldridge has been dominant inside, but he deflected any praise to Williams.
"Mike is doing great this year," Aldridge said. "He's a real physical guy and we're going to need that down the line."
The Longhorns next play Texas-Arlington and Rice before traveling to New Jersey to meet No. 1 Duke.
TEXAS GAME NOTES
UT Starters: Daniel Gibson, LaMarcus Aldridge, Mike Williams, Kenton Paulino, P.J. Tucker
Texas Player Quotes
On playing unranked teams: All of these teams are good. I think Pan Am was really good tonight. Those guys could shoot the ball and they ran the floor really well. They were really good at the zone. Every team we play brings something different to the table and helps us get better, learning from different teams.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Sophomore Forward
On halftime adjustments: Coach really talked to us post guys; the posts weren't posting up very hard. The guards were trying to get in there but we weren't posting deep enough. So he talked to us about getting deep, posting harder and getting ready for the shots, which opened up things for the outside.
Head Coach Rick Barnes
On new guys playing: Without guys like Brad [Buckman] playing it's important to give other guys like Mike Williams, Connor Atchley, and Craig Winder time to find new roles. This was Mike's longest time playing and he has to learn how to play when he's tired. Conner was also able to gain some more experience and Craig had great energy tonight.
On P.J. Tucker becoming complete: P.J. [Tucker] has always had really good ball skills and he has spent a lot of time working on his jump shot. P.J. doesn't feel any pressure to shoot it, but if he's open he's going to take the shot, and he's not going to take a shot he's not comfortable with.
Head Coach Robert Davenport
On La Marcus Aldridge: He has obviously put on some weight and gained some strength since last year. I tell my kids, he is light but very strong. He did a really good job of going and getting the ball. LaMarcus is a tremendous talent. Not only was he rebounding, but he was scoring as well.
On containing Texas in the first half: In the first half we played zone because I know Texas can shoot the ball. We felt that a zone would be best because we are comfortable playing it and we will use it all year against bigger and better teams like Texas because it is an equalizer.