No. 7 Texas finished off the EA Sports Maui Invitational Tournament in a big way, beating Oregon 70-57 in the tourney’s third-place game. The star for Texas was junior swingman Damion James, who went off for 21 points and 12 boards in the win.
Before the season, Dexter Pittman told Inside Texas that Damion James will show everyone he’s “the best wing man in the country.”
This is what he was talking about.
The junior G/F, now playing out on the wing after spending most of his time at the four last season, scored 21 points on a pinpoint accurate 9-of-11 shooting and pulled down 12 rebounds in Texas’ 70-57 win over Oregon to close out the EA Sport Maui Invitational.
Texas takes third place in the tournament after winning its opening round game over St. Joseph’s, losing to Notre Dame and then beating Oregon Wednesday.
In the Tuesday loss to Notre Dame, Texas had a rough time on the defensive end, giving up a season-high 81 points and only forcing six turnovers after averaging a, frankly, ridiculous 20.7 heading into the contest.
But Texas (4-1) got back on track on the defensive end in a big way against Oregon (3-3). The Ducks started out the game by taking a 7-2 lead, but Texas then went on a 25-3 run in which Oregon went 12:31 without a single field goal.
Oregon narrowed the Texas lead to 11 just before halftime (31-20), but the gap proved to be too much as Texas picked up right where it left off in the second half, never letting the Ducks come within striking distance and finishing the game out for the 70-57 win.
Justin Mason also put in a strong effort for Texas, finishing just behind James with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Mason, as he usually does, filled out the stat sheet, putting up five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Connor Atchley also contributed under the basket. The senior didn’t have any points (0-for-5), but did kick in nine rebounds.
Sophomore forward Gary Johnson scored 12 points and grabbed 8 boards. He had a rough shooting game — do you detect a trend here? — but helped himself at the free throw line, converting all six of his foul shots. Texas is still having problems at the line, though. Johnson hit all six of his free throws, but the rest of team was 4-of-11 (36.3 percent) from the charity stripe.
Senior guard A.J. Abrams, who took what was obviously a game-high 27 shots in the loss to Notre Dame, was a bit more measured on the offensive end, taking 11 shots and hitting four for a total of nine points. He also snagged three steals and dished out a pair of assists.
Texas returns to action Sunday, Nov. 30 with a game at the Erwin Center against Rice. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.