AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—The Texas-Texas A&M rivalry has been known for gritty games in front of wild crowds.
Few expected the latest matchup to turn into such a laugher, not when these teams looked so evenly matched.
Jordan Hamilton scored 27 points the 10th-ranked Longhorns cruised past No. 11 Texas A&M 81-60 on Wednesday night, snapping the Aggies’ 13-game winning streak with arguably their most complete victory of the season.
Freshman Tristan Thompson gave the Longhorns (15-3, 3-0 Big 12) a big boost with 18 points on dunks, jumpers and tough layups before limping off with a leg cramp with 4 minutes left.
“It was fun out there,” Hamilton said.
The Longhorns made this one a rout with about 10 minutes left. Texas shot 58 percent from the field and the worst free throw shooting team in the Big 12 was 19 of 22 from the line.
The Aggies (16-2, 3-1) hadn’t lost since Nov. 25, but haven’t won in Austin in this rivalry since 2002.
“We got punked,” Texas A&M’s Nathan Walkup said. “We just came out soft.”
The matchup produced the rowdiest crowd of the season so far at Texas in what most expected would be a scrappy, hard-fought game. Texas jumped out early and never gave the Aggies an opening to catch up.
Thompson scored eight of Texas’ first 12 points, all of them coming on dunks and shots from just a couple of feet from the basket.
The Aggies were frustrated when they were hit with eight fouls in a 2-minute span early in the first half, leaving coach Mark Turgeon in a foot-stomping rage. Turgeon was hit with a technical and Texas made its first eight free throws for a 20-5 lead.
When the whistles finally stopped—or at least slowed down—Texas A&M used a 14-4 run to get within five. Texas closed the half with a 15-4 run, highlighted by Thompson’s alley-oop dunk from J’Covan Brown and Hamilton’s 3-pointer, for a 39-27 lead.
Khris Middleton was Texas A&M’s only real scoring option of the half when he had 12 of his game-high 16 points for the Aggies.
The Longhorns quickly pushed their lead to 17 points in the opening minutes of the second half. Hamilton made a turnaround 3-pointer from the top of the arc and Thompson powered over David Loubeau for a tough layup that made it 48-31.
Nothing seemed to be going right for the Aggies, who struggled to make any kind of a run to close the gap. Ray Turner missed an easy dunk off an inbounds pass that might have sparked a rally but instead bounced all the way back out to the free throw line.
Thompson and Hamilton kept making plays on both ends of the court for Texas.
Thompson’s soft jumpers, tough layups and four blocks kept Texas comfortably ahead before Hamilton delivered the knockout punch with a baseline jumper and another turnaround 3-pointer that put the Longhorns up 58-35.
“We were obviously very good tonight,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “It was a really nice team win for us against a great team.”
By the time the Aggies showed some life offensively, the game was out of reach. Texas A&M made three 3-pointers in four possessions but Hamilton and Gary Johnson made five straight shots to squelch any chance of a rally.
“We were a half-step slow,” Turgeon said. “We got our head down early. That’s the first time we haven’t competed to come back.”