On the verge of its best start in 77 seasons, Texas has easily handled most of its opponents and now faces a team tied for the Big 12’s worst record.
That doesn’t mean the second-ranked Longhorns will take their conference opener lightly Saturday, hosting a Colorado team that’s given them all they could handle in the previous two regular-season meetings.
Texas (14-0) has won all but one game this season by double digits and seven by at least 25 points. The Longhorns boast one of the nation’s best all-around teams, scoring 87.0 points per game and allowing 61.4 per contest.
Damion James has led the way by averaging 16.7 points and 10.8 rebounds. Center Dexter Pittman is scoring 14.6 points per game and is the nation’s top shooter by a wide margin at 74.1 percent.
They have helped Texas get within one victory of its best start since winning 20 in a row to begin the 1932-33 season. The Longhorns matched the third-best start in program history with Tuesday night’s 96-85 victory at Arkansas. Their best opening to a season was 23-0 in 1923-24.
Pittman had a team-leading 21 points and 10 rebounds Tuesday. James scored 20 despite playing 17 minutes because of foul trouble, but he scored eight in the final 2:11 to help hold off the Razorbacks.
“That’s what I’m supposed to do,” James said. “I wasn’t going to let us lose.”
James also helped the Longhorns avoid a defeat in their first matchup against Colorado last season. In an 85-76 overtime victory, James had 21 points and 14 rebounds to help offset a career-best 34 points from Buffaloes guard Cory Higgins.
Texas had an easier time against Colorado in its Big 12 tournament opener but still had trouble pulling away as Pittman scored 26 points in a 67-56 victory. The Longhorns needed to rally from a 13-point deficit in the second half the last time they welcomed the Buffaloes to Austin, a 69-67 win Jan. 19, 2008.
The Longhorns, however, will face a Colorado team that’s looking to avoid a 13th straight Big 12 defeat and 30th in a row on the road. The Buffaloes, who have recorded three straight last-place finishes in the conference, are 7-41 in regular-season league play since the start of the 2006-07 season.
Colorado (9-5) has lost 21 consecutive road games to Division I opponents since Dec. 22, 2007, but won at Division II Chaminade on Nov. 25 in the Maui Invitational.
The Buffaloes finished non-conference play by winning three of four, but Miami of Ohio missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to allow them to escape with a 67-65 home win Tuesday night.
Freshman guard Alec Burks, who has scored in double figures in all 14 games, had a team-best 17 points while Higgins was held to 11 on 4-of-11 shooting. Higgins has averaged a team-leading 18.4 points and Burks adds 16.3 per game.
Texas is searching for its sixth straight win over Colorado, which shares the Big 12’s worst record with Oklahoma after finishing a league-worst 9-22 overall last season.