AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sir’Jabari Rice and Tyrese Hunter each scored 15 points and No. 8 Texas raced away from No. 23 Iowa State with a big first half to earn a 72-54 win Tuesday night that kept the Longhorns at the top of the Big 12.
Texas (22-6, 11-4) is tied with No. 3 Kansas for first place with three games left in the regular season. The Longhorns haven’t won even a share of the league crown since 2008.
Texas shook off a sluggish start with a 16-0 run keyed by Hunter that ignited the home crowd. Hunter was the Big 12 freshman of the year last season at Iowa State before transferring to Texas.
The Longhorns made nine 3-pointers in the first half and shot 55% in taking a 19-point lead into halftime.
The Cyclones (17-10, 8-7), who beat Texas in their first matchup, kept sagging off shooters in the corners and the Longhorns kept the shots swishing.
The Longhorns led by four before Hunter started a run of six Texas 3-pointers over the final eight minutes of the first half.
Texas cooled off in the second half and went nearly six minutes without a basket before Brock Cunningham made a 3-pointer. But Iowa State did little to cut its deficit, making just two baskets in the same span.
Cunningham scored eight of Texas’ first 10 points of the half to keep the Longhorns comfortably in control. Hunter’s 3 from the right corner put Texas ahead by 20 midway through the period.
The Longhorns needed that cushion. Texas scored only 16 points and eight turnovers over the first 15 minutes of the second half. Iowa State closed within 13 before Timmy Allen’s breakaway dunk and a 3-pointer from Rice all but closed out the win.
Osun Ossunniyi scored 12 points to lead Iowa State.
Iowa State: The Cyclones’ defense has been dependable all season, but a wave of turnovers led to Texas’ big first half. Iowa State had 11 turnovers in the half while scoring just 10 baskets. Texas turned those miscues into 21 points in the half.
Texas: The Longhorns’ deep backcourt got some of its best minutes yet this season from heralded but little-used freshman Arterio Morris. One of the top recruits in the country, Morris has struggled for playing time but poured in eight points in his first seven minutes of the first half on 3-of-3 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers.
Iowa State hosts Oklahoma on Saturday.
Texas plays at No. 9 Baylor on Saturday.
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