With all of its wins coming by double digits, Texas has been one of the nation’s most dominant teams.
The second-ranked Longhorns could become even more dangerous if junior transfer Jai Lucas continues to contribute, and he’ll have another opportunity Saturday against visiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Off to its best start in 28 seasons, Texas (12-0) has beaten its opponents in 2009-10—including No. 9 North Carolina and No. 11 Michigan State—by an average of 28.4 points. Seven victories have been by at least 25 points, including Tuesday’s 95-63 rout of Gardner-Webb.
In his third game with the team, Lucas, who previously played at Florida, scored 15 points on a 5-of-7 performance from 3-point range. The guard was one of four Longhorns in double figures, among eight with at least six points and one of 12 to see the floor in the victory.
“They just told me to take open shots and that there’s no limitations on anything,” Lucas said. “I felt the way that they were guarding the pick-and-roll and helping inside with Dexter (Pittman), that there were a lot of open shots. And I hit them.
“It will take a few more games … I’m not where I need to be yet.”
Pittman also scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting and had nine rebounds in 19 minutes. Despite missing eight of 11 shots, Damion James recorded his fourth double-double in five games with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The performance wasn’t perfect, however, as Texas committed six of its 19 turnovers in the first four minutes. The Longhorns have averaged 18.0 giveaways in the past two games and 14.8 overall.
“We just had way too many turnovers, and I think we turned ourselves over,” coach Rick Barnes said. “Some of our turnovers were just from being careless.”
Even if there’s a repeat of those miscues, Barnes’ team should have more than enough to take care of the Islanders (5-6), who are averaging 69.5 points.
That includes Tuesday night’s 97-67 home win over Division II Oklahoma Panhandle State, which snapped a four-game slide. Leading scorers Kevin Palmer (20.2 points per game) and Demond Watt (11.0 ppg) each had 18 points in the victory.
Despite its uneven record, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has been competitive in most of its games by allowing 66.5 points per game, highlighted by a season-opening 67-43 victory over Oregon State.
The Islanders have dropped three games by seven points or fewer and its most lopsided defeat was 73-58 at then-No. 16 Mississippi on Nov. 29.
Texas, which is trying to move within one victory of its 14-0 start in 1981-82, has won both all-time meetings against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Longhorns earning a 79-71 win on Dec. 16, 2000, and an 89-64 victory on Dec. 5, 2001, with both games in Austin.