Dores' 2nd half rally falls short in Big 12/SEC Challenge


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kerwin Roach Jr. had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Texas overcame Vanderbilt’s bigger lineup with tenacious defense in a 72-58 win Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Prince Ibeh added 13 points and 11 boards for the Longhorns (14-7) who had four players score in double figures. Texas has won five of its last six in a mid-season surge under first-year coach Shaka Smart.

Vanderbilt trailed by 16 early in the second half before staging a late run with a flurry of 3-pointers. The Commodores shot 53 percent after halftime but timely turnovers and Texas’ offensive rebounding sealed the Texas win. Texas also outscored the bigger Commodores 40-18 in the paint.

Damian Jones scored a career-high 26 points for Vanderbilt (12-9). Matthew Fisher-Davis scored 19 for the Commodores.

Vanderbilt figured to a be physical matchup problem for Texas with 7-footers Jones and Luke Kornet, one of the nation’s top shot blockers, in the frontcourt.

But Vanderbilt struggled to withstand Texas’ defensive pressure in the first half as the Longhorns built a big lead that all but buried the Commodores.

Texas had been slugging its way through the rugged Big 12 and entered the rare mid-season non-conference matchup brimming with confidence under first-year coach Shaka Smart.

Texas forced Vanderbilt into eight turnovers and a paltry 6-of-21 shooting as the Longhorns built a 31-16 lead by halftime.

Roach, who had a career game earlier in the week against TCU, had back-to-back fast break dunks. A 3-pointer by Tevin Mack started a 7-0 Texas run that had Vanderbilt on its heels and searching for some way to slow down the Longhorns.

Jones scored 11 points in the first half but was the only Vanderbilt player with more than one basket in the first half and scored 11 points.

The defensive ball pressure eased the pressure Ibeh to corral Vanderbilt’s imposing front line by himself. Ibeh picked up two early fouls and played only six minutes of the first half.

After eight turnovers in the first half, Vanderbilt got a tighter grip on the ball in the second half and started finding some open shots. The Longhorns led 41-27 before a Vanderbilt burst sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from Fisher-Davis pulled the Commodores within 43-35.

Kornet swished a 3-pointer from the right corner to cut the Texas lead to 58-51 with just under six minutes left, before Texas’ Eric Davis answered with a 3-pointer, then made two free throws to put the head by 12.

Vanderbilt: Fisher-Davis leads the SEC in 3-point shooting at 49 percent but missed his first three attempts and didn’t make Vanderbilt’s first 3-pointer until the second possession of the second half.

Texas: Ibeh shook off the first-half foul trouble with some big baskets that prevented a Vanderbilt rally in the second. He scored six points, including consecutive dunks, that put the Longhorns up 41-27 early in the second half. He also kept up his streak from the free throw line. After starting the season just 3 of 21, Ibeh has made 10 of 12 the last two games.

Vanderbilt hosts No. 5 Texas A&M on Feb. 4. Texas plays at No. 17 Baylor on Monday.