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Texas keeps rolling, beats Missouri 71-58

Texas keeps rolling, beats Missouri 71-58

January 30th, 2011 in News

Texas forward Gary Johnson, top, holds onto the rim while wrapped around Missouri center Steve Moore, bottom, after attempting a dunk during the first half in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011, in Austin, Texas.

Photo by The Associated Press /News Tribune.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Longhorns are tearing up the Big 12 and showing no signs of slowing down.

Jordan Hamilton had 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and No. 7 Texas beat No. 11 Missouri 71-58 Saturday night to remain undefeated in the Big 12.

The Longhorns (18-3, 6-0) have won six in a row overall and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Tigers (17-4, 3-3).

Texas had another stellar defensive effort, holding the highest-scoring team in the Big 12 to its lowest point total of the season. Texas is holding Big 12 opponents to 54 points per game.

"Good defense beats good offense on any given night," Texas senior forward Gary Johnson said. "That's what we do."

Like the five teams before them in Texas' run, the Tigers came away impressed by the Longhorns' bruising play near the baskets.

"There's no secret how they play," Missouri guard Kim English said. "They are a physical team. They pressure the ball. Big, strong guys."

Hamilton, Johnson and freshman Tristan Thompson dominated the paint on both ends of the court. Johnson had 15 points and nine rebounds and Thompson had 13 rebounds.

Missouri boasts the Tigers play the "fastest 40 minutes of basketball," but ran smack into a defensive wall in this one. Texas raced to a 10-0 lead behind 3-pointers by Hamilton and Cory Joseph and Thompson's muscular rebounding.

Thompson also caught Missouri forward Laurence Bowers on the chin with an elbow that knocked Bowers out of the game with 12 minutes left in the first half. Bowers, who averages 11.5 points and had just scored two straight baskets, was wobbly when he got to his feet and had to be helped to the locker room.

"I thought there were a lot of loose elbows out there," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "It might have been a mild concussion. He took a big-time elbow."

Johnson and Hamilton both scored 10 points in the first half for Texas. Missouri stayed within striking distance when Phil Pressey made a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to pull the Tigers to 38-27 at halftime. Pressey led Missouri with 12 points.

Missouri managed to slow down the Longhorns in the second but couldn't make a run of their own to threaten the Texas lead.

Marcus Denmon's putback pulled the Tigers within eight before Thompson revived the home crowd with a two-handed dunk off a backdoor pass from Hamilton, then blocked a shot by Denmon on the other end. Time and again, the lanky freshman muscled over one and sometimes two Tigers to grab the ball.

"He has been really blowing up on a lot of people," Anderson said.

Michael Dixon made a 3-pointer for Missouri, but the Longhorns responded with quick baskets by J'Covan Brown and Joseph that pushed the lead back to 53-42.

Texas misfires from the free throw line kept Missouri hanging around. The Longhorns missed 11 of their first 14 free throws of the second half and went 16-of-34 for the game.

Texas finally put the game away when Johnson made one of two free throws and Hamilton grabbed the rebound on the miss and immediately went back up for a basket.

"I saw it was going to come off the back rim. I thought it gave us a spark," Hamilton said.

After Missouri's next three possessions finished in a turnover and two misses, a layup by Brown finished a Texas fastbreak for a 66-53 lead with just over 2 minutes to play.

Texas' impressive early run in the Big 12 includes wins over No. 6 Kansas and No. 13 Texas A&M. The Longhorns face a rematch with the Aggies on Monday night.

Johnson promised more rugged, physical defense.

"We lost to a team that played that way at Pittsburgh," Johnson said. "We didn't like it."

Missouri is back in action Wednesday at Oklahoma State.

Game time is 8 p.m. in Stillwater, Okla.