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No. 21 Texas not looking past dangerous UNC Greensboro

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No. 21 Texas will look to continue to build momentum for the upcoming Big 12 Conference campaign and stay on the winning track when it hosts UNC Greensboro on Friday in Austin, Texas.

The Longhorns (9-2) return from the Christmas break after a workmanlike 71-55 home win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 22. Max Abmas scored 17 points and Dillon Mitchell added 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds as Texas shrugged off some second-half doldrums that allowed the visitors to claw to within five points.

Dylan Disu then hit two jumpers and a layup before Abmas converted a three-point play with 2:11 left to help the Longhorns hold on for their victory.

“Every game we play is a Super Bowl game for the other team,” Mitchell said after the win. “This is a game for them to make a statement. We know we can never come into a game thinking it’s going to be a blowout.”

Texas stayed unbeaten at home and won its third straight game since its loss at Marquette on Dec. 6. Disu and Tyrese Hunter scored 11 points each for the Longhorns, while Brock Cunningham had a season-high 10 against A&M-Corpus Christi. The victory did not impress the Associated Press pollsters, who dropped Texas two spots in the latest rankings.

“We always ask our guys to be stars in their roles,” Texas coach Rodney Terry said. “That’s one of the things we ask them to bring to the table every single day in practice and in games — to just be prepared for their opportunity and when they are on the floor to give it all they’ve got.”

UNC Greensboro (9-3) heads to Austin after an eight-day break on the heels of a record-setting 135-57 win at home over Virginia-Lynchburg on Dec. 21.

The Spartans never trailed and established program records for points in a game, halftime lead (42 points), made field goals (55) and rebounds (68) and tied school marks for margin of victory (78 points) and assists (32).

Donovan Atwell’s 19 points led eight UNCG players in double figures, with Domas Kauzonas adding 18 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Jalen Breath and Keyshaun Langley hit for 17 points each, Mason So and Joryam Saizonou tallied 12 apiece and Akrum Ahemed and Tim Ceasar contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the win, which snapped a two-game losing streak for the Spartans.

While UNCG’s offensive barrage is sure to catch opponents’ attention, the Spartans will need defense to hang in the game with a team like Texas.

“We’ve got to be able to play 40 minutes,” UNCG coach Mike Jones said. “We play good in stretches, and we play together in stretches. We’ve played defensively tough in stretches, but right now, we’re not able to sustain them for 40 minutes. When we are able to do that, then we’ll get a different result from our defense. So we’re working toward consistency.”

The Spartans’ losses this season are to Vanderbilt, Marshall and High Point on the road by a combined margin of 22 points. UNCG beat then-No. 14 Arkansas on the road on Nov. 17 for its marquee victory to date.

–Field Level Media

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