PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Texas is still far away from where it wants to be this season.
But the Longhorns made a lot of progress in their second game at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Eric Davis Jr. had 15 points, Cameron Ridley added 13 points and 11 rebounds and Texas fended off a barrage of late rallies to beat Washington 82-70 Thursday in the consolation round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Javan Felix finished with 13 points. The win avenges Texas’ six-point loss to Washington in the Longhorns’ season-opener.
“We wanted to come out and have a better showing for ourselves,” Felix said. “We really pride ourselves on defense and yesterday we didn’t really do a good job of that. Tonight we wanted to show ourselves that we were capable of coming out and getting stop after stop, and capitalizing on rebounding and getting the ball out.
“That’s what we tried to do in the first half.”
The Huskies (3-2) chipped away the Longhorns’ 10-point halftime lead for most of the second half, cutting the deficit to as few as three points.
But each time the Longhorns had a response, either knocking down a rally-deflating 3-pointer or getting a timely stop on defense.
Andrew Andrews led Washington with 20 points. Marquese Chriss added 15.
Texas shot 59 percent from the free throw line in its opening-round loss to Texas A&M on Wednesday. The Longhorns were 30 of 42 (71 percent) on Thursday, and far more accurate down the stretch.
“The stat sheet says we shot 71 percent, but it felt like we missed a lot,” Smart said. “But the guys did a good job down the stretch hitting some free throws and putting us in good position. Hopefully we can be in that position late in games, where if we can play solid defense, take care of the ball and make our free throws we’ll be in good position to win.”
Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said he thinks Texas played much differently from the breakneck pace it showed in their first meeting.
“They looked at their personnel and maybe really tried to play a little more smash mouth,” Romar said. “Their big guys play more together now. They still push the ball like crazy, but they don’t seem to be pressing as much. They’re playing what seems to me a little more percentage basketball.”
Texas led by as many as 15 in the first half.
The Longhorns turned nine Huskies turnovers into 11 points in the first half, and also got a lift from their reserves, who contributed 22 points.
Washington kept it close by knocking down five 3-pointers.
Washington: Bench was outscored 37-13. …Finished 10 for 24 from the 3-point line.
Texas: Outscored the Huskies 32-26 in the paint. …Had 18 second-chance points and 16 fast break points.
SECOND TIME AROUND: Smart said having played Washington in the Shanghai neutral site opener really helped with preparation on the short turnaround. “I think there was a lot more familiarity. The last game was our first game. A lot of guys were maybe a little bit nervous. We were over in China and we were kind of out of our element. We didn’t quite play like ourselves. Tonight was more like that and I thought our guys did a better job of really executing all-around.”
TAKING STOCK: Romar said that the two losses aside, he is pleased with the progress his team has made this week in the Bahamas. “I love our team,” Romar said. “I really like our team. We knew it was going to be coming. We knew we were going to play against a really good Texas team in China. We knew we were going to come here and play against a really loaded field in the Bahamas. I think it has served as a great measure to see where we are.”
Washington plays the loser of Michigan and Charlotte for seventh place on Friday.
Texas plays the winner in the fifth-place game on Friday.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.