No. 25 Texas 101, Texas St. 65
Game by game, Cory Joseph is finding his offensive rhythm for the Texas Longhorns.
The freshman guard scored a career-high 19 points and No. 25 Texas ran its non-conference home winning streak to 24 games with a 101-65 win over Texas State on Saturday.
Joseph was slow to develop a scoring punch early in the season - he had just two points on 1 of 4 shooting in a 68-66 loss to Pittsburgh - but has been surging of late, averaging more than 13 over Texas' last five games.
''I'm just taking open looks,'' Joseph said. ''I was taking them before, I just wasn't hitting them.''
J'Covan Brown added 18 points for the Longhorns (7-2), who shook off a lackluster defeat at USC a week earlier with six first-half 3-pointers against the overmatched Bobcats.
Joseph was 5 of 8 from long range and Brown went 4 of 5 as Texas tied a season high with 11 3-pointers. The Longhorns had five players score in double figures in reaching the 100-point mark for the first time this season.
Texas hasn't lost a non-conference game at home since a 67-66 loss to Wisconsin on Dec. 29, 2007.
Tony Bishop had 12 points and eight rebounds for Texas State (2-5), which lost its fourth straight.
Texas State tried to slow the Longhorns with a zone defense that challenged sometimes streaky shooters to take and make shots. But Texas kept hitting from the outside (11 of 19 on 3-pointers) and pushed the Bobcats around under the basket for 19 offensive rebounds when they missed.
''We went with a bigger lineup than we're used to ... and they still killed us on the boards,'' Texas State coach Doug Davalos said. ''They got second shots and that relaxes the shooters a little bit.''
Joseph and Gary Johnson each scored 10 points for the Longhorns in the first half. Texas State made its first five shots before going 5 of 25 over the final 15 minutes of the half.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Brown and another by Joseph put Texas up 20-12. The Bobcats pulled to 23-20 before Texas closed the half with a 15-4 run. Johnson was 5 for 8 shooting in the half, finding as easy shooting spot from 10 feet on the baseline on either side of the basket.
That midrange jumper can be a deadly weapon for the Longhorns - if Johnson can keep making it.
''I've been hesitant,'' Johnson said. ''I feel like when I'm knocking that shot down, it's going to open up things for Cory and J'Covan.''
Kentucky transfer A.J. Stewart's alley-oop slam and 3-point play early in the second half cut the Texas lead to 42-31 before Joseph made a 3-pointer, Johnson hit two free throws and Joseph hit again from long range to put the Longhorns ahead by 19.
Jordan Hamilton, Texas' leading scorer this season, was held to 12 points by USC and was having another quiet night until a steal at midcourt with 13 minutes left led to a behind-the-back dribble and dunk that put Texas up 62-37.
Hamilton finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Texas needed a big win after the dispiriting loss at USC a week earlier, Joseph said.
''In the last three games, we let the other team set the tempo,'' Joseph said. ''We definitely wanted to come out from the jump and play hard.''