HOUSTON (AP) — A.J. Abrams, D.J. Augustin and Damion James scored 18 points each to lead No. 4 Texas to an 80-54 win over Rice on Saturday night.
The win gives the Longhorns a 9-0 record for the first time since the 1981-82 season. They’ve still got a way to go to match that 1981-82 squad, which won the first 14 games of that season.
Their 26-point margin of victory marks the eighth time in the first nine games that they’ve won by at least 15 points.
Texas led by 20 early in the second half before Rice went on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 56-46 on a basket by Suleiman Braimoh with about 11 minutes left. Rodney Foster had five points in that span, including a 3-pointer for Rice (2-6).
The Longhorns answered with eight straight points, punctuated with a two-handed dunk by James to stretch their lead back to 64-46 with about eight minutes left.
The Owls got within 66-51 after a free throw by Scott Saunders with about 4? minutes to go. Texas scored seven straight points after that, spurred by a 3-pointer from Justin Mason, to make it 73-51 and put the game out of reach.
The Owls were led by Foster, who had 13 points, and Patrick Britton added 11.
The Longhorns led by seven before scoring 13 straight points, capped by a reverse layup by Augustin midway through the first half to push the lead to 30-10. Texas led 47-29 at halftime.
Rice played this home game at the Toyota Center in front of a Longhorn-heavy crowd. The arena was filled with burnt orange shirts with just a couple of areas of Rice fans. The Owls are playing all of their games this season off campus while Autry Court has a $25 million renovation. Along with the Toyota Center, they’ll also play games at two other Houston venues.
It was a homecoming for a half dozen Texas players who attended high school in the Houston area. Those players were Connor Atchley, Augustin, Gary Johnson, Dexter Pittman, Harrison Smith and Rodney Terry.