AUSTIN, Texas (AP) As usual for the Texas Longhorns, a smothering defense can solve a lot of problems. Especially with the kind of effort that turns back the pages of the school record book not just by years, but by decades.
Cam Ridley scored 14 points and No. 8 Texas shook off another sputtering night offensively with overwhelming defense to beat Texas State 59-27 on Saturday night.
Texas allowed its fewest points since 1945 and gave up just nine points in the first half, the fewest allowed by the Longhorns in at least 65 years.
”We were absolutely awful on offense,” Longhorns coach Rick Barnes said. ”As a coaching staff, we emphasize in games like this that we defend really hard. We did do that.”
The Longhorns played their first game since a rugged matchup with No. 1 Kentucky a week earlier when they lost for the only time this season.
Texas held the Bobcats to just 22 percent shooting, including a first half in which Texas State was just 4 of 25 and didn’t have an assist. Javan Felix scored 10 points for Texas (8-1) and the Longhorns closed the first half with a 13-2 run that put the game out of reach.
Texas State’s 27 total points tied the mark for fewest allowed by Texas since a 34-27 win over Southeast Oklahoma Teacher’s College in December 1945.
Cameron Naylor had eight points for Texas State (5-2).
”Our game plan was not to let them score a lot of points, but our game plan was certainly to score more than 27,” Texas State coach Danny Kaspar said. ”I have no explanation for some of the poor shooting other than guys (were) intimidated by the height they saw.”
Ridley agreed Texas State seemed unnerved by the Longhorns’ size in a lineup built for the Big 12. The Bobcats play in the Sun Belt Conference and were facing their only opponent of the season from a major conference.
”If I was on a smaller team, I’d be intimidated to look at a lineup with four guys over 6-foot-8,” Ridley said. ”Teams can’t get to the basket like they want due to our shot-blocking abilities.”
Texas matched their season average with six blocks.
But Texas will eventually have to find an answer for their recent offensive struggles. The Longhorns haven’t scored more than 63 in their last four games and still miss starting point guard Isaiah Taylor, who is out indefinitely with a broken left wrist.
Over the first seven minutes, the Longhorns had more turnovers (5) than baskets (3) and Barnes was impatient with mistakes, quickly sending players to the bench after bad shots or dropped passes.
The Longhorns did make 5 of 9 3-pointers in the first half, getting two each from Felix and DeMarcus Holland. Felix’s second with 4 seconds left in the half gave Texas a 24-9 lead.
At that point, Texas State had no chance to threaten the Texas lead. Jonathan Holmes made a 3-pointer early in the second and Ridley followed with a 3-point play that made it 32-11.
Ridley scored 13 in the second half as the Longhorns found their shooting touch, making 13 of their first 20 shots to stretch the lead to 52-23 with just about six minutes to play.
SHORT ROAD TRIP: As the map goes, the two campuses are only about 30 miles apart. Basketball-wise, the distance between the two programs could divide a continent. In a long but sporadic series, Texas has won 26 in a row over the Bobcats, who haven’t beaten Texas since 1937.
Texas has outrebounded every opponent – including No. 1 Kentucky last week. The Longhorns dominated the boards against the Bobcats 45-21.
Texas State came in ranked No. 6 in the nation in steals per game at 10.8. They forced 10 by halftime against Texas and finished with 19.
Texas hosts Lipscomb on Tuesday
Texas State plays at Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday
(A previous version of story incorrectly listed Texas’ opponent total as lowest since 1946 instead of 1945.)