AUSTIN (AP) – Texas used strong games from three freshmen to overcome some rebounding issues Tuesday night.
North Texas owned the boards, but the Longhorns pulled away from the Mean Green in the second half to win 73-57.
The Mean Green outrebounded Texas 46-30, the second time in six games this season that the Longhorns lost the battle of the boards.
“They really beat us on every one of those 50-50 balls,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “We got the shots we wanted and got our hands on the ball. Then our post guys would lose the balls out of bounds.”
North Texas (1-4) had 22 offensive rebounds, one more than the Longhorns had on defense, thanks in part to its own poor shooting (19 for 62).
“Unfortunately, we shot 30 percent from the field so we had a lot of opportunities to get some offensive rebounds,” Mean Green coach Johnny Jones said. “But give our guys credit. I thought they did an excellent job of being aggressive getting to the glass.”
Myck Kabongo scored 16 points for Texas (4-2) to go with seven assists. Jonathan Holmes added 12 points and Julien Lewis scored 11 for the Longhorns. Holmes also had a team-high six rebounds.
“All five guys on the court definitely need to improve on rebounding,” Holmes said.
Alzee Williams led North Texas with a career-high 17 points. North Texas was playing in its fourth straight road game. The Mean Green won’t return to the North Texas Coliseum until Dec. 10.
Roger Franklin, a transfer from Oklahoma State, scored 13 points to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds for the Mean Green.
Texas led 38-28 at halftime, then opened the second half on a 13-4 run that included five points from Kabongo and baskets from six different Longhorns.
“Going in only 10 points down at half and had the ball coming out in the second half, I thought we had an opportunity to maybe get some things going,” Jones said. “But they (Texas) came out and did an excellent job grabbing the momentum.”
The Mean Green got within 11 points twice in the final 10 minutes, the first after a 6-0 run capped by Williams’ pair of free throws.
North Texas cut into the deficit again with 4:49 remaining with a 3-pointer by freshman Chris Jones and then two free throws from Franklin. But Texas held on to improve to 113-15 against in-state opponents under Barnes.
“We came out and really stretched in when we should have really blown it open,” Barnes said.
Jones, the Mean Green’s leading scorer, was limited to eight points, less than half of his season average. Kabongo guarded him for most of the game.
Texas’ leading scorer, J’Covan Brown, was also held in check. Brown had six points, 17 below what he averaged through the Longhorns’ first five games.
The Mean Green was without blue chip recruit Tony Mitchell, who played for the United States at the under-19 world championships in Latvia this summer. Mitchell committed to Missouri when he graduated from high school in 2010 but was never ruled academically eligible by the NCAA.
Mitchell enrolled at North Texas in January and will not be able to play until Dec. 18 against Jackson State at the earliest.
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