COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)—When Texas struggled on offense Saturday, the Longhorns relied on their defense to get a win.
The Longhorns’ stingy zone defense didn’t allow a field goal during the final 12:41 in Texas’ 69-59 victory over Texas A&M.
“The zone has been good to us,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said.
Marcus Watkins hit a jumper with 12:41 left to give the Aggies a 46-43 lead. Texas then went on a 16-0 run to take a 59-43 lead with 8:11 to play. The Longhorns (14-3, 5-1 Big 12) forced four A&M turnovers and 14 missed field goals during the stretch.
“We knew we had to get some stops to control the game,” Texas’ Jason Klotz said. “We’ve been working hard this week. After (Mondays overtime game against Texas) Tech, we were pretty tired. We got our legs back under us.”
Texas, which has the top scoring offense in the Big 12, shot just 28 percent in the first half and led 32-21 at halftime.
Brian Boddicker and Kenton Paulino led Texas with 11 points each, and Klotz added 10. Nine of Boddicker’s points came in the final 11:19.
Nick Anderson scored 14 points to lead A&M (7-10, 0-6).
The Longhorns have won 10 consecutive games in College Station and 29 of their last 32 games against the Aggies.
“They’re a good defensive team, but we came down that stretch and got real cold and couldn’t hit anything,” said A&M center Andy Slocum, who finished with a season-high 18 rebounds.
Despite being outrebounded for just the fifth time this season, the Longhorns pulled down 20 offensive rebounds and dominated the Aggies in the paint.
Boddicker and Klotz limited A&M to just 14 points from the inside, and forced the Aggies to keep the ball on the perimeter.
“It was a very physical game. Our guys were complaining about getting pushed, but if they’re not calling it, you’ve got to push back,” A&M coach Melvin Watkins said. “They have the big bodies they keep bringing in, and that does wear on you a bit.”
After struggling from the floor in the first half, Texas hit 48.1 percent of its field goals in the second half, while holding A&M to 29 percent.
Antoine Wright, A&M’s leading scorer, was limited to eight points and was 3-of-11 from the floor. A&M has now lost six consecutive games, while the Longhorns have won their last two since a home loss to Oklahoma State on January 24.