November 24, 2007
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- D.J. Augustin scored 23 points, A.J. Abrams had 21 and Texas (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) shot 64 percent from the field in routing No. 7 Tennessee 97-78 in the championship game of the StubHub! Legends Classic on Saturday night.
Connor Atchley added a career-high 22 points and 11 rebounds, Justin Mason had 21 points and the Longhorns (5-0) continued to show they are going to be a force even with Kevin Durant now playing in the NBA.
Chris Lofton had 18 points to lead Tennessee (5-1), which was limited to 39 percent shooting from the field. JaJuan Smith added 13 and Tyler Smith had 11.
This was supposed to be the biggest test for Rick Barnes' young team, which starts three sophomores and two juniors.
Tennessee (5-1) was undefeated, had Lofton, the preseason All America at guard, and was coming off an impressive win over West Virginia the night before at the new Prudential Center. The Vols beat Texas 111-105 in overtime last December, rallying from a 17-point halftime deficit in a contest that Lofton scored a career-high 35 points.
The only similarity this time was that Tennessee, which hit 16 3-pointers, was again behind at the half.
The difference was that Texas rode the dynamic guard play of Augustin and Abrams in the second half and poured it on.
Texas took control of the game with a 19-4 spurt that bridged the final minutes of the first half and the start of the second.
Trailing 39-38, Augustin and Abrams combined on a 12-2 run to end the first half. Augustin hit four free throws and Abrams, who had made 17 3-pointers in his previous two games, nailed two more.
The second half was more of the same, with Texas hitting 18 of 28 shots.
Augustin found Abrams for a backdoor layup for one of his eight assists and then added a jumper to start the half. After JaJuan Smith made a basket for Tennessee, Atchley hit two free throws and Abrams, who didn't score until late in the first half, scored on a fastbreak for a 57-43 lead.
Texas led by as many as 22 points in winning the inaugural Legends title. The victory over a ranked team was the 40th for Barnes at Texas.
Tennessee was looking for its first tournament win since the Rainbow Classic in 2000.
The first half was an offensive showcase with Texas shooting 63 percent in taking a 50-41 lead.
The Longshots hit 8 of their first 10 in jumping to a 25-18 advantage. A string of three straight 3-pointers, the first and last by Jordan Howell, gave the Volunteers a 29-28 lead.
There were five more lead changes, the last coming on two free throws by Augustin.