for this game

Abrams, second-half push lift Texas to first Big 12 win

Jan 20, 2008 - 6:51 AM AUSTIN, Texas (Ticker) -- Richard Roby got Colorado off on the right foot. However, it could not stop A.J. Abrams from having the final say after halftime.

Abrams scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half as No. 19 Texas captured its first Big 12 Conference win with a 69-67 victory over the Buffaloes on Saturday.

Playing for the first time since a 97-84 setback in a league opener at Missouri last Saturday, the Longhorns saw Roby lead the Buffaloes out to a 15-6 lead inside the first 5 1/2 minutes.

Ranked sixth in the Big 12 in scoring at 16.2 points, Roby converted four of his first five shots, including a 3-pointer, to stake Colorado to the strong start.

"They're a tough team to defend and we adjusted real well," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "In the first half, we really saddled on offense. We would make one pass and then shoot. But they really came out in the second half and improved."

Although it was able to close within a point, Texas faced a 37-28 deficit at halftime. That hole was quickly erased in the second half behind Abrams, who has scored at least 17 points in four of his last five games.

The junior guard scored the first six points after intermission for the Longhorns, who later pulled ahead 52-43 on the strength of a 24-2 burst. Abrams had three 3-pointers and all of his second-half points in that span.

"Coach told us at halftime that we just needed to be more aggressive both offensively and defensively, so I think we just played with more passion out there in the second half," Abrams said. "We wanted to come out and make sure that we protect home court and that run helped us do it."

With four total 3-pointers, Abrams moved into third place on Texas' career list with 218. The all-time leader is Travis Mays with 246.

Texas (14-3, 1-1 Big 12) maintained a healthy cushion until Roby and Marcus Hall converted back-to-back layups to close within 69-65 with 1:34 to play.

"We responded," Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "But you can't let a team have that kind of a run."

The Longhorns then came up empty on two chances for an answer, including a shot-clock violation with 18 seconds left.

Roby missed his initial 3-pointer, but did get a layup with two seconds left off an offensive rebound. Colorado could then only watch as Texas ran out the clock.

In doing so, the Longhorns improve to 10-0 in league home openers under Barnes.

Connor Atchley added 15 points for Texas, which shot 41 percent (26-of-64).

One reason for the Longhorns' turnaround in the second half was their rebounding, grabbing 12 on the offensive end in the second half. Overall, they finished with a 35-34 edge, including a 17-11 advantage in second-chance points.

"We just need to keep getting better," Bzdelik said. "They had what, 12 offensive rebounds in the second half? You can't give a team in one half, 12 second-shot opportunities."

Roby finished with 18 points for the Buffaloes (9-8, 1-2), who lost for the third time in their last four games.

Xavier Silas scored 15 points and Marcus Hill added 10 for Colorado.