Horns get big man back and it shows

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas is finally packing some muscle under the basket and result is impressive.

With D.J. Augustin providing his usual razzle-dazzle driving to the basket, Gary Johnson delivered the scoring punch inside that coach Rick Barnes had promised and the No. 14 Longhorns rolled to an impressive 81-62 win Saturday over Saint Mary's.

Augustin scored 30 points and Johnson, who missed the first 13 games while doctors monitored his heart, had 15 points and six rebounds for the Longhorns in their last non-conference game.

"It might be the best team win we've had all year," Barnes said. "We've got a chance to have a heck of a basketball team."

Augustin, whom Barnes had scolded for sloppy play in the previous three games, had just one turnover and once again knocked out a potential rally with his late drives and free throws.

Texas is 2-0 with Johnson in the lineup. He had five points and five boards in a win over TCU, a game Texas played with shooting guard A.J. Abrams out with a foot injury.

Against Saint Mary's, Texas had the lineup Barnes and Longhorns fans had been waiting for.

"It felt good," Johnson said. "Just getting in the flow of it, everything is coming back. It felt good out there tonight."

Johnson was 7-of-10 shooting and had a two-handed baseline dunk in the key second-half run that sealed the win. Texas was outrebounded 41-34 but Johnson's muscle helped Texas win the scoring in the paint, 38-28.

Texas (13-2) had impressive wins early in the season over No. 8 Tennessee and No. 5 UCLA, but will need to carry this new power surge into the Big 12, which is known for its rugged play from top to bottom.

"We wanted to establish where we're at heading into conference play," guard A.J. Abrams said. "I think we're building toward that."

Saint Mary's (12-2) hit eight 3-pointers in the first half and led 29-24 before Texas took the lead behind 3-pointers from Augustin and Damion James.

James hit another 3-pointer and Abrams made one from the left wing as Texas pushed its lead to 42-36.

Johnson hit two strong baskets in the low post the early minutes of the second half, then stepped out for a soft mid-range jumper for a 50-42 Texas lead.

"Obviously, this is the first time all year we've been able to post the ball with confidence," Barnes said. "He gives us a presence."

The Gaels got within three before Texas pushed the lead to 64-51 with a 14-4 run over the next four minutes. Abrams scored eight on a variety of slashing moves to the basket and pull-up jumpers.

Texas put it away with a pair of dunks. Johnson's was first after he powered past a defender with a strong move on the baseline. The next came on James' soaring, breakaway slam that put Texas up 70-64 with 9:32 left to play.

Texas built the lead to 21. The Gaels got within 15 in the final three minutes but could not stop Augustin's twisting, spinning drives through the lane for baskets or free throws. He went 11-of-22 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the line.

Gaels coach Randy Bennett noted his team won the rebounding for the game and limited turnovers to 12, but still couldn't muster a win.

"You think you'd be in the game," Bennett said. "When you're playing a good team on the road, the margin of error is slim."