Abrams starts fast as Texas cruises past StetsonNov 15, 2008 - 7:01 AM AUSTIN, Texas (Ticker) -- A.J. Abrams showed he is ready to lead the way offensively for No. 8 Texas.
Abrams sank five 3-pointers and finished with 21 points as the Longhorns posted a 67-38 victory over Stetson in the season opener for both squads on Friday.
Connor Atchley scored 14 points and Damion James added 13 and eight rebounds for Texas, which improved to 9-2 in season-opening games under Rick Barnes. The coach picked up his 450th career win in this one.
With the Longhorns once again left in search of a leading scorer after D.J. Augustin left school early for the NBA, Abrams came out firing in the first game of his senior season. The 5-11 guard hit three 3-pointers in the opening 13 1/2 minutes and scored 11 points as the Longhorns grabbed a 24-7 lead with just over five minutes left in the first half.
"I thought tonight, A.J. did a good job," Barnes said. "He didn't have any turnovers, but I thought in the first half, we probably watched him play a little too much."
Overall, Abrams finished 7-of-12 from the field while Texas shot 54 percent (27-of-50), including 8-of-15 from the arc, as it had very little trouble with Stetson's zone defense.
"We did a pretty good job of handling zone when we weren't stagnant and we moved the ball," Abrams said. "We got the ball moving back and forth, and that is what kind of opened us up."
Last season, Abrams led the Big 12 Conference with 118 3-pointers while shooting 38.2 percent from long range.
While Abrams was feeling it, Stetson struggled with Texas' tough defense, missing 10 of its first 11 shots and managing just five field goals on the way to falling behind, 29-18, at the half.
In the end, the Hatters (0-1) made only 13 field goals en route to shooting 26 percent (13-of-50) from the field.
"We were good defensively in the first half. I thought we didn't give them very much," Barnes said. "I think defensively, if we can have that kind of effort, it can keep us around for a long time in some games."
"They're sound and they can make adjustments on the fly," Stetson coach Derek Waugh said of Texas. "I thought they did a nice job adjusting to our ball screen in the second half. We're generally better on our offense then we are tonight, but that's not much of a statement seeing that we shot 26 percent and had 38 points."
A.J. Smith scored 12 points and Garfield Blair added 10 for Stetson.
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