A.J. Abrams scored 27 points and Dexter Pittman added 19 to lead No. 5 Texas to an 88-72 victory over visiting Texas Southern last night.

Abrams had 16 points in the second half and Pittman added 15 for the Longhorns (9-1), who led 35-34 at halftime.

The Tigers (0-9) opened the second half with a fullcourt press, and Pittman capitalized as the center scored 11 points in a 10-minute span.

Matthew Miller led Texas Southern with 21 points, 10 over his season average.

Freshman Varez Ward had 12 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Texas.

Texas wasn't able to pull ahead by more than five points in the first half. The Tigers took the lead with more than 3 minutes remaining on David Burrell's fastbreak 3-pointer, but Ward hit a 3 from the wing at the buzzer to give the Longhorns the one-point lead.

In other men's games:

* At Clemson, S.C., Trevor Booker had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots, and No. 25 Clemson moved to 11-0 for the third time in four seasons with a 76-36 victory over North Florida (0-8).

The Tigers are 43-0 under coach Oliver Purnell over the past four seasons in games played before Dec. 22.

* At Nashville, Tenn., Jermaine Beal scored 20 points, and Vanderbilt opened the Southeastern Conference/Big East Invitational by beating South Florida, 71-52, to hand Commodores coach Kevin Stallings his 300th career victory.

A.J. Ogilvy added 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Jeffery Taylor finished with 11 as Vanderbilt (7-3) won its second straight.

South Florida (3-5) lost its fourth straight game in the first of a four-game road trip.

* At Nashville, Tenn., Wayne Chism had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 16 Tennessee (7-2) to an 80-66 win over No. 24 Marquette in the second game of the Southeastern Conference/Big East Invitational.

Marquette (8-2) got 30 points from Wesley Matthews.


* Kansas junior guard Mario Little will miss 2 to 4 weeks after breaking his left hand at practice.

* Bill Bayno has been sidelined as Loyola Marymount's basketball coach because of what he says is "a serious medical condition" related to job stress.

The 45-year-old Bayno signed a 5-year deal to coach the Lions in April after an 8-year absence from college basketball. He began a leave of absence on Nov. 23.

Assistant Max Good has taken over for Bayno. The Lions (0-10) visit No. 14 UCLA (6-2) tonight. *