AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—D.J. Augustin did everything he could to get Texas a win.
Driving to the basket for layups, pulling up for short jumpers and getting to the free throw line, the Longhorns point guard bulled and finessed his way to 29 points and 10 assists to lead No. 4 Texas past North Texas 88-72 on Wednesday night.
He even took an elbow to the face in the second half that later required three stitches below his left eye and still sparked Texas’ final push to the win.
“He’s terrific,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “He’s got a great feel. He took control in the last four or five minutes of the game.”
The win pushed Texas to 8-0 for the second time in three seasons. If the Longhorns beat Rice on Saturday night, they’ll be off to their best start since winning the first 14 games of the 1981-82 season.
The Longhorns said they were determined not to relax after pulling out a huge win at UCLA three days earlier.
“That was our main focus,” guard A.J. Abrams said. “We knew we had a big win in (Los Angeles) and we wanted to come out here and not have a letdown.”
Abrams scored 23 for the Longhorns, who cruised to a big early lead, then watched North Texas cut it under 10 in the second half before pulling away down the stretch.
Damion James added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Texas. Josh White led North Texas (5-2) with 28 points, hitting six 3-pointers.
The Mean Green, who rallied from 21 down to beat New Mexico State in their last game—the biggest comeback win in school history—quickly found themselves down by that margin against Texas.
Texas hit 10 of its first 14 shots and James’ gliding layup made it 29-8. The Longhorns led 48-26 at halftime, and Abrams and Augustin each had 14 points in the first half.
At one point, frustrated by his team’s sloppy play and several fouls called against his team, North Texas coach Johnny Jones stripped off his sport coat in disgust and was whistled for a technical foul.
“You can’t fall behind on a great basketball team like that. We dug a whole for ourselves in the first half,” White said. “We never quit.”
Things got much more interesting in the second.
Texas maintained at least a 20-point lead through the first seven minutes, then couldn’t make a basket. The Longhorns went nearly six minutes without a bucket and North Texas whittled the lead to nine behind with a 12-0 run sparked by White’s consecutive 3-pointers.
After their big comeback against New Mexico State, North Texas thought it might be on the verge of another. The Mean Green outrebounded Texas 36-35 and were only the third team this season to hold Texas under 50 percent shooting.
But the rally wouldn’t last. James broke the scoring slump with a long jumper and another by Abrams pushed the Texas lead back to 68-55.
Augustin took over the game from there, scoring 11 of Texas’ next 15 points on a variety of sparkling drives through the lane for baskets and short jumpers or fouls that sent him to the line.
His 10th assist of the game was a long pass to Abrams in the corner for a 3-pointer that made it 86-66 with 2:55 to play.
Augustin went 11-of-12 from the line and Texas was 19-of-24 as a team.
“He can give it to you in a lot of ways,” Barnes said.