Julien Lewis made the most of his lone opportunity to play Texas A&M at home.
The freshman guard broke out of a shooting slump and poured in a team-high 16 points to lead Texas (12-4; 2-1 Big 12) past A&M, 61-51, on Wednesday night at the Erwin Center. UT and A&M will play once more as conference rivals in College Station on Feb. 6, but Wednesday was likely the Aggies (9-6; 0-3) final visit to Austin, as they will join the Southeastern Conference later this year.
Lewis made 6 of 10 shots, including all three of his 3-pointers. He entered the contest in 9 of 41 slump but found his stroke and drilled all of his treys from the corners.
"That's my rhythm shot," said Lewis, who was just 3 of 18 behind the arc in his previous five games. "I like the corner shot. I can shoot anywhere, but that corner shot, that's my spot."
Lewis gave the Longhorns the lead for good with 11:05 left after converting a lay-up and a free throw that made it 37-35. Texas got 24 points from its bench, led by Lewis. Leading scorer J'Covan Brown, still hobbled by a sprained right ankle, scored 14 but was just 2 of 12 from the field. He had his first three shots blocked but was 10 of 10 from the free throw line and dished out six assists.
"Lewis was a big key," said Aggies coach Billy Kennedy. "We did a good job on Brown, but Texas had someone step up and play well."
After dropping their Big 12 opener at Iowa State, the Longhorns have won two in a row and remain undefeated at home (11-0). UT has turned up its defense of late and held opponents to an average of 50 points over the last two games. Clint Chapman was the defensive catalyst Wednesday. The senior forward drew two charges in addition to a key block down the stretch to quell an Aggies rally.
"I think this team has already taken more charges than any of my teams in the past," said coach Rick Barnes. "We don't have a lot of size. But their guy steps in, or our guy steps in to take a charge. Those are huge plays, just huge plays. We've got to have them from our guys. We had a really hard fought win."
Texas holds a 136-85 lead in the 95-year series against Texas A&M dating back to 1917, including a 22-7 mark under Barnes.