for this game

Texas battles past Texas Tech

Feb 26, 2009 - 6:31 AM AUSTIN, Texas (Ticker) -- Texas ran into an inspired Texas Tech team and survived ... barely.

A.J. Abrams scored 23 points and Damion James added 20 and 11 rebounds as the 24th-ranked Longhorns wore down the Red Raiders, 87-81, in a Big 12 Conference game on Wednesday.

The Red Raiders, who were without suspended coach Pat Knight, gave Texas all it could handle in a physical contest.

Texas (19-8, 8-5) used a 10-2 lead to grab a 55-50 advantage in the second half. However, Texas Tech (12-16, 2-11) didn't give in, hanging around but never able to regain the advantage.

"You have these types of nights," James said. "I had to find a way to get points on the board."

Nick Okorie drilled a 3-point shot with five minutes left to cut the Red Raiders' deficit to 73-71.

A minute later, James made a strong drive to the basket and banked home a shot to give Texas a 77-73 advantage. Justin Mason followed with a layup and the margin was six.

After Mike Singletary split a pair of fouls hots, Abrams hit a pair of free throws to make it 81-74, but the Red Raiders refused to wilt and countered with a pair from the line by Alan Voskuil.

Abrams went back to the line and knocked down another pair to make it a seven-point game again with less than 90 seconds left.

The Longhorns, who are 11-0 at home against the Red Raiders under Rick Barnes, salted the game away from the foul line, where they lived all night. Texas shot 43 free throws and made 31. The Red Raiders went to the line 21 times, making 15.

"This time of year, there's no easy games," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "Tech's played 28 games, and they're continuing to work."

Texas Tech was without Knight, who was sitting out a one-game suspension for comments about officiating. Under Chris Beard's watch, the Red Raiders came out fast and furious and led the Longhorns, 43-38, at halftime.

Okorie led the way with 15 points on 5-of-5 from the field, including three hoops from long range.

Okorie missed his first shot of the second half and it appeared to wake up Texas.

The Longhorns went on a 10-2 run to take a 55-50 advantage before John Roberson hit a 3-point shot to make it a two-point game.

At halftime, Texas retired the No. 35 of Kevin Durant, who currently plays for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.

"Every chance I get, I watch the guys on TV," Durant said. "I call the coaches and I call the players. I was only here for a year, but I think I'll bleed orange for the rest of my life."