AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Texas (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 AP) had just won but nobody was happy.
Not the players or Longhorns coach Rick Barnes.
Not after a sloppy second half that made an 85-70 victory over
Texas-Arlington on Wednesday night much closer than it should have
And especially not when they consider the Longhorns' next game
is at No. 6 Wake Forest.
"I thought we played as if we thought that at any point we
wanted to move the score up we could," Barnes said. "It's not
about that, it's about execution. ...… It's just sloppy. There's no
sense in trying to sugarcoat it."
Texas (7-1) had no problem executing in the first half, building
a 52-29 lead while shooting 56 percent.
The 52 points were the most the Longhorns had scored in a half
this season, with much of the production coming with from a second
straight strong outing from the post players.
Klotz has been in double figures every game this season and has
become one of the Longhorns' most consistent scoring threats after
averaging just 4.7 points over the previous three seasons.
P.J. Tucker converted a steal into a layup and a three-point
play, Paulino buried another 3 and Klotz hit a long turnaround
jumper as the buzzer sounded for the final basket of the half.
Klotz had a defender draped all over him and was looking to pass
before he looked over his shoulder at the clock winding down and
decided to put up the shot.
Things got sloppy after the trip to the locker room.
"I thought they came out with a lot of fire and played harder
than us," Klotz said. "We've got to grow up. Going to Wake, we've
got to be prepared for that."
The Longhorns tapered off sharply in the second half against a
scrappy defense that hassled Texas with fullcourt presses and
Barnes was sharply critical of his guards as having one of their
worst games of the season. Even Tucker, who led Texas with 17
points and 10 rebounds, didn't escape Barnes' wrath.
Tucker, who has moved from power forward to small forward, still
managed to work his way inside for close baskets and rebounds, but
he didn't handle the ball well in the press, often dribbling
himself into trouble.
"That's what guys do in the third and fourth grade," Barnes
said. "You dribble into the corner, you're going to get trapped."
Tucker acknowledged his rough outing.
"A couple of individual efforts were kind of bad today,"
Texas shot just 37 percent in the second half, hitting just two
of 13 shots during one stretch as Texas-Arlington cut it to 65-52
with about 8 minutes left. The Longhorns also routinely misfired
from the free throw line, hitting just 18 of 30.
Jarrett Howell scored 24 points to lead the Mavericks (4-3), who
said that if they could have kept the first half close, they would
have made a game of it.
"The first half is what really hurt us," Mavericks forward
Steven Thomas said. "We came out in the second ready to play. We
play both halves like that and it could have been a different
Texas snuffed the Mavericks' rally when Buckman and Aldridge hit
consecutive baskets and Tucker scored eight points down the stretch
to put the game away.
Texas has won 34 of its last 35 home games and extended its
dominance against opponents from the Lone Star state. The Longhorns
are 50-3 against in-state opponents under Barnes.