- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Stuck with a three-game losing streak and a 12-point halftime deficit, the Texas Longhorns finally emerged from their inertia Friday night.

Texas defended with more intensity, shot with increased accuracy and scored 51 points in the second half to beat Alabama 77-68.

“The first five minutes of the second half, they came out with a different type of energy and focus,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “It seemed like they were a step quicker. Give them credit. This is a team that lost three games in a row. They were desperate.”

Kerwin Roach scored 16 points for Texas (4-3). Tevin Mack, Shaq Cleare, Jacob Young and Jarrett Allen scored 11 points each for the Longhorns.

Dazon Ingram led Alabama (4-3) with 12 points and had Avery Johnson Jr. had 10.

The Longhorns, bolstered by full-court pressure defense in the second half, persisted until they took their first lead of the game, on a 3-point play by Roach with 12:47 remaining.

Neither team led by more than four until Roach made a free throw with 1:02 left for a 68-63 lead.

Corban Collins, an Alabama graduate transfer from Morehead State, made three 3-point baskets in the first half, helping the Tide to a 38-26 lead at the break. Before Friday, Collins had seven 3-pointers in six games.

Mack, making his first start of the season, scored all 11 of his points in the second half, one more than Roach.

“This is a little glimpse of what we can really be like if we continue to work hard,” Cleare said. “When we lost those games these guys were really crushed. The last two days of practice were really intense. We knew we were gonna win this game, even if we were down by 15, 16 points.”

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: The Crimson Tide regard defense as their strength. They rank in the top 25 nationally in points allowed and turnover margin. They maintained form in the first half, limiting Texas to 26 points, but the Longhorns scored 51 in the second. Alabama shot 48 percent in the first half. Texas, meanwhile, hit 35 percent. The Longhorns outshot Alabama 57-41 percent in the second half.

“Our defense wasn’t good enough in the second half,” Johnson said. “Roach broke us down. We weren’t moving our feet. We were out of position.”

Texas: Coach Shaka Smart made two starting lineup changes, replacing guards Eric Davis and Kendal Yancy with Mack and Andrew Jones. Davis is in a season-long shooting slump, while Mack is the Longhorns’ leading scorer and best 3-point shooter this season. Mack missed all five shots in the first half before rallying for 11 points. Davis made one basket after missing his first three shots, increasing his streak of misses to 11 in the last two games. Mack played a season-high 37 minutes.

“I’ve never played that much or that hard,” Mack said.

UP NEXT

Alabama is at No. 23 Oregon on Dec. 11. If Oregon remains in the top 25 next week, this will be Alabama’s first game against a ranked team.

Texas is at Michigan on Tuesday. Michigan beat Texas 78-72 last season at a tournament in the Bahamas.

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