Tar Heels’ defense can’t keep up with Longhorns
By JAIME ARON
AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Damion James led a four-man scoring frenzy that carried No. 2 Texas to a 103-90 victory over No. 10 North Carolina on Saturday in the first basketball game at Cowboys Stadium.
James and hefty center Dexter Pittman were forces around the basket on both ends of the court, with James posting 25 points and 15 rebounds, and Pittman compiling 23 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.
J’Covan Brown added 21 points and Avery Bradley had 20 as the Longhorns (10-0) cruised to a victory in the same building where Colt McCoy and the Texas football team won the Big 12 title two weeks before.
It was the most points the Tar Heels (8-3) have allowed in regulation since Roy Williams became their coach in 2003-04. Wake Forest scored 119 in a triple-overtime victory in December 2003.
North Carolina led for most of the first 16 minutes, then fell behind for good during a stretch of 10 straight misses. The Tar Heels gave up a 23-7 run going into halftime that included an inbounds pass that was stolen and turned into a layup by Bradley with 1 second left.
North Carolina clawed to within 82-78 with 6:59 to play, but simply couldn’t keep up with Texas’ scorers.
Ed Davis made nine of 13 shots and had 21 points and nine rebounds. Tyler Zeller was 7 of 8 for 16 points. The rest of the Tar Heels combined for 20 baskets. Marcus Ginyard returned from a one-game absence to score 13, but he missed seven of his first 10 tries.
Texas outrebounded North Carolina 60-41, which went a long way toward helping the Longhorns load up on easy baskets. They outscored the Tar Heels 27-11 on second-chance points and 16-8 on fast breaks.
Texas continues to steamroll past teams. In fact, this 13-point margin of victory was its smallest of the season. But this also was the start of an NCAA tournament-like stretch for the Longhorns, with a home game against No. 12 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
If coach Rick Barnes would quibble about anything, it might be the distribution of points. Other than the four big scorers, Texas’ other eight players combined for 14 points.
Jai Lucas had an assist, a turnover and two fouls in 6 minutes for the Longhorns. This was his first game since transferring from Florida, where he made the SEC’s all-freshman team in 2007-08.
North Carolina will be happy to have a stretch of games coming up against some soft foes after what the squad has been through. This was the fifth time in eight games that the Tar Heels faced a team currently among the top 18. They went 2-3, also losing to No. 3 Kentucky and No. 5 Syracuse.
Although this was technically a neutral site, burnt orange clothing filled the stands. The game drew 38,052; more than twice as many are expected for the next basketball game here, the NBA All-Star game in February.
This was only the fifth time these programs have met. Texas has won the last three for a 3-2 series lead.
Updated December 19, 2009