No. 9 Michigan St. Falls To No. 2 Texas 79-68
Dec. 22, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -Damion James had 23 points and 13 rebounds, leading No. 2 Texas past No. 9 Michigan State 79-68 on Tuesday night, giving the Longhorns consecutive wins over Top 10 teams.
Like the victory over No. 10 North Carolina on Saturday, James led this one. He followed his 25 points and 15 rebounds against the Tar Heels with another big showing to rally the Longhorns (11-0) from an early deficit.
Chris Allen had 12 points for the Spartans (9-3), who couldn't beat Texas for a fourth straight year.
The Longhorns hadn't played a ranked opponent before last weekend and now have impressive wins over two of the nation's best.
Jordan Hamilton had 14 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Longhorns, who now have a week off.
For anxious Longhorns fans awaiting the BCS championship game, this big Texas win may tide them over until Jan. 7. Texas football coach Mack Brown looked on as the Longhorns trailed 37-34 at halftime, and quickly started chipping away at the deficit.
J'Covan Brown hit a corner 3-pointer with 12:58 left to tie the game at 52. James gave the Longhorns the lead back seconds later, hitting a floater in the lane to put Texas ahead for the first time since the first half.
From there, the Longhorns slowly pulled away - then abruptly put the game out of reach. Gary Johnson stripped the ball from Spartans point guard Korie Lucious at halfcourt on consecutive possessions with under 4 minutes left, both leading to fastbreak dunks and a commanding Texas lead.
The Longhorns have won every game this season by double digits.
James, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, became the school's all-time leading rebounder, surpassing James Thomas. James, who was 10 of 18 from the field, has 1,087 rebounds.
Before beating North Carolina, the Longhorns feasted on lesser foes. Texas beat the Tar Heels in the vast enormity of Cowboys Stadium, in the first basketball ever played at the home of the Final Four in 2014.
Back home at a raucous Erwin Center, a small cluster of Michigan State backers briefly stole the show: officials stopped the game for several minutes so police could confiscate an airhorn from a Spartans fan who tried shirking away from her seat but was allowed to stay.
But as the second half wore on, the Spartans had less and less to cheer about.
Playing consecutive games against Top 10 opponents for the first time in a decade, the Longhorns hit 7 of 16 from behind the 3-point arc and shot 59 percent from the field in the second half.
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