Texas Tech vs Texas

James' double-double propels Texas to third win in last four games


AUSTIN, Texas -- Facing a team without its head coach and mired in a season-long downward spiral, it would have been easy for No. 25 Texas to expect an easy victory.

Far from it. Instead, the Longhorns had to slug out an 87-81 win over Texas Tech on Wednesday night behind Damion James' 20 points and 11 rebounds, his fourth consecutive double-double.

"We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game with their coach out," Texas senior guard A.J. Abrams said. "I bet they had some extra motivation to play harder."

The Big 12 suspended Red Raiders head coach Pat Knight for one game for criticizing the officiating in their previous loss. Associate head coach Chris Beard called the plays, made the substitutions, requested the timeouts and nearly had enough to pull off an upset.

Instead, Texas Tech lost its fifth straight and for the ninth time in the last 10 games.

"I was really proud, but I did want to try and pull it off for Pat," Beard said. "I know Pat will be proud when he watches the game tomorrow."

Texas (19-8, 8-5) may have trouble figuring out just what to make of this one.

On the one hand, the Longhorns have won four of their last five after a three-game losing streak. They also struggled on their home court to put away a team mired in a bad season despite coming up just a point short of their season high. The Longhorns played without forward Gary Johnson, who is averaging 12 points a game. He twisted his left ankle last weekend in Texas' win over Oklahoma.

"Believe it or not, this team is used to close games and this time of year I think you're going to be in close games," Texas coach Rick Barnes said.

Abrams scored 24 points and Dogus Balbay added 11 points and five assists. Balbay keyed the second-half run that allowed Texas to take the lead after going into halftime trailing 43-38. In his five games as a starter, he has 33 assists and nine turnovers.

The Red Raiders (12-16, 2-11) made six 3-pointers and shot 56 percent in the first half. Those shots started rattling out of the rim in the second.

Texas grabbed the lead with a 14-7 run early in the second half. Balbay, who is usually Texas' fifth option to score, had six points in the run, slashing through the Tech defense for layups, including a drive straight down the lane for a 51-50 lead.

Every time Texas seemed to be on the brink of a game-breaking run, the Red Raiders reeled them back in. Texas built a 64-58 lead only to watch Tech scratch back to pull even with a 6-0 run.

When Abrams hit his fourth 3-pointer, Nick Okorie answered with one and Mike Singletary's two free throws kept Tech within 75-73 with 4 minutes left. Okorie led the Red Raiders with 24 points.

What Texas Tech couldn't do was keep Texas off the free throw line. The Longhorns went 31-of-43 and were led by James, who was 12-of-15.

James was much better from the line than the field on a 4-of-10 shooting night.

"I just had to do what I had to do to help my team win tonight," James said. "I shot poor from the field, but it was OK."

At halftime, Texas retired the No. 35 of Kevin Durant, who spent only one season with the Longhorns but was the national player of the year as a freshman in 2006-07.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Damion James shoots for two of his 20 points and adds 11 rebounds in the Texas victory.
Damion James shoots for two of his 20 points and adds 11 rebounds in the Texas victory. (AP)
Related Links
Texas Tech (12-16)433881
Texas #25 (19-8) «384987
TXTECH:Nick Okorie 24 Pts
TXTECH:Mike Singletary 8 Reb
TXTECH:John Roberson 4 Ast
TX:A. Abrams 24 Pts
TX:D. James 11 Reb
TX:D. Balbay 5 Ast

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TexasTexas Tech
D. James
M. Singletary
Texas Tech Red Raiders
A. Voskuil, G404-82-232312
J. Roberson, G376-200-024315
N. Okorie, G368-114-410424
R. Lewandowski, F212-21-24245
E. Rizvic, C131-20-03132
M. Singletary, F265-86-1181517
M. Prince, F111-10-01042
D. Cohadarevic, F91-20-01142
R. Craig, F40-30-01010
D. Roberts, F30-12-21022
D. Suljagic, FDid Not Play
T. Cook, FDid Not Play
T. Graham, GDid Not Play
C. Ray, FDid Not Play
W. Dunn, GDid Not Play
Totals 28-5815-2125113181
Texas Longhorns
A. Abrams, G406-138-1021124
D. Balbay, G324-53-545411
J. Mason, G313-70-26226
D. James, G-F264-1012-15113320
D. Pittman, C163-71-26127
C. Chapman, F-C223-61-13027
V. Ward, G150-23-42023
C. Atchley, F-C112-61-22015
M. Hill, F-C41-10-01002
H. Smith, G30-12-21012
G. Johnson, FDid Not Play
A. Wangmene, F-CDid Not Play
Totals 26-5831-4338122087
Big 12
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
W. Virginia5-216-318
Texas Tech4-315-419
Kansas St.4-314-557
Oklahoma St.3-413-688
Iowa St.2-511-783
Other games
UConn 93 Final
MU 82
VT 80 Final
NOVA 74 Final
DEP 72
Iowa 54 Final
Mich St 62
DUKE 78 Final
MD 67
K-State 74 Final
Missouri 94