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January 2, 2010 - Austin, TX (Sports Network) - Dexter Pittman had 18 points, nine rebounds and five blocks as second-ranked Texas held off a pesky Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team for a surprisingly close 76-70 final at the Frank Erwin Center.
Jordan Hamilton scored 17 points and handed out seven assists while Damion James checked in with 13 points and 10 boards for the Longhorns (13-0), who are off to their best start since the 1981-82 campaign.
Texas had won each of its games by double figures, and that included back-to- back victories against North Carolina and Michigan State within the last four contests.
However, a 35.4-percent shooting performance and 10 missed free throws (23- of-33) helped allow the game to remain relatively close throughout.
Kevin Palmer posted 28 points and Terence Jones added 11 for the Islanders (5-7), who were coming off a 30-point win over Oklahoma Panhandle State on Monday. Demond Watt had 10 points and 13 rebounds in the setback.
Down a dozen to start the second half, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi rattled off seven straight points early in the frame to get within six, 44-38, on a three from Palmer.
James hit from long distance on the other end and a Pittman dunk followed to put Texas back on top by double digits. Texas was still holding a 12-point lead as the clock wound under 10 minutes remaining, and consecutive layups from J'Covan Brown and Pittman moments later ran the margin to 59-45.
Palmer poured in 11 straight Islander points to keep the game within reach at 66-56 with five minutes left to play. Jones then sank a three-ball for a 69-60 deficit with 3:35 to go, and Palmer got to the hoop for two with 1:09 left to make it an eight-point game, 72-64.
Avery Bradley then hit what would amount to two clutch free throws as Palmer and Watt each had a layup to make things interesting with 36 seconds still showing on the clock.
Hamilton knocked down two from the charity stripe to push Texas' lead back to eight and Palmer missed an ensuing three to essentially clinch the outcome.
The Longhorns' in-state foe held its own early and led 13-11 after a Jones three-pointer a little more than seven minutes in.
Texas responded with the next 18 points. Jai Lucas and Hamilton sparked the run with consecutive three-pointers and Pittman's free throw capped it for a 29-13 advantage with 7:14 to go.
The teams began to trade baskets down the stretch and a pair of threes from Palmer and Marcus Hammonds cut the Texas lead to nine approaching halftime. Hamilton came back with a three of his own prior to the break and the hosts took a 41-29 lead into the second half.
The Islanders shot 37.1 percent from the floor, hit 17-of-24 free throw attempts and turned the ball over 25 times...Texas had 13 turnovers and was outrebounded by a 41-35 margin...Lucas had nine points for Texas.