Pondexter, Ajavon fuel Rutgers past Texas

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Matee Ajavon gave Rutgers a boost off the bench.

She scored 17 points and Cappie Pondexter led the Scarlet Knights with 22 points and five assists to help No. 9 Rutgers beat Texas (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) 63-49 Friday night.

Rutgers got a needed win after falling to then-unranked Mississippi in its previous game, two weeks ago.

Ajavon, who sustained a stress fracture in the summer, has been used as a reserve.

"In that role, I'm supposed to supply a spark," said Ajavon.

Time and again, either Pondexter or Ajavon would break down the Longhorns and score on a jump shot, runner in the lane or driving basket just before the shot clock expired.

"Their guards are really good," Texas coach Jody Conradt said. "With the shot clock winding down on certain possessions, you knew one of them was going to take control and we didn't do well in stopping them."

The Longhorns held their own for a while largely due to Erika Arriaran, who scored 10 first-half points. But a recurring cramp in her right calf affected her play and time on the court in the second half and she finished with 13 points.

The Scarlet Knights (9-1) started distancing themselves in the first half.

Ajavon scored three straight baskets, then Pondexter followed with three of her own. The two combined for 18 points during a 19-4 run

The Longhorns (6-4) only remained within reach, down 34-20, at halftime thanks to Arriaran. The freshman drained all four of her shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Texas managed to make it 42-32 with 14:36 remaining on a three-point play by Tiffany Jackson that capped a 10-2 run. But that was as close as the Longhorns got.

Texas was the Knights' first ranked opponent since entering the Top 25. Mississippi cracked the rankings after beating the Knights.