for this game

Abrams helps Texas avoid major upset

Dec 13, 2008 - 10:30 PM AUSTIN, Texas (Ticker) -- A.J. Abrams made sure Texas did not suffer an embarrassing loss.

Abrams scored 30 points Saturday as sixth-ranked Texas pulled away for an 81-73 victory over pesky Texas State.

The Longhorns (8-1) trailed 54-53 with 11:56 left before Abrams scored 13 of his points over the final 4:49 as Texas won for the fifth straight time.

"A win is a win but I think that we had some guys who could've played better," Abrams said. "But everyone isn't going to play their best game every night, so we have to have some team effort and pick everybody up.

"We got them when we needed to but we need to improve."

Abrams was held without a field goal for the first 15 minutes of the second half. But he put Texas ahead 67-63 with a jumper, then had a steal and 3-pointer to help put away the game.

"I'm not into the final score - I'm in from the technical and mental standpoint and we had some guys who didn't do the things they needed to do," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "I think as a group there were some really good things that happened today."

Dexter Pittman, who added 17 points and 10 rebounds, gave Texas the lead for good at 11:47 with a layup. He then scored the next three points of the game to give the Longhorns a 58-54 edge before Abrams took over.

"We should have gone to (Pittman) more but for the minutes that he played, he provided us with a big spark," Abrams said. "Our game plan is always to get the ball to Dex early because he is a big force for us on the offensive and defensive end."

Damion James added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Longhorns.

Cameron Johnson scored 26 points to pace Texas State (3-5), including a pair of layups in the final minute of the first half to help the Bobcats enter the break trailing only 38-34.

Texas State, which entered the contest having lost three of its last four games, was not expected to give the Longhorns much of a problem.

"I'm very proud of our basketball team, and I said the same thing last year," Texas State coach Doug Davalos said. "I know the players in our locker room came into this game believing they could win this game. We knew it would be awfully challenging to do that."

It looked as if the Bobcats would not put up much resistance early on as Texas led 10-0 before Texas State rallied behind Brent Benson, who scored 14 of his team's first 18 points to put them up 18-17 with a layup.

The Bobcats twice took the lead in the second half, the second time on a layup by Johnson with 11:56 remaining before the Longhorns rallied behind Abrams down the stretch.

"I believed (we could win) during the whole game," Benson said. "I knew that if we could keep getting stops, we would be able to score on them. We started fouling too much towards the end with our reach-ins.

"Other than that, I pretty much knew we had a great shot at winning during the whole game."