February 10, 2007

Struggling Longhorns take care of business 77-68

The Texas Longhorns came into Saturday in a must win situation after back-to-back losses to Kansa State and Texas A&M. The Longhorns got the job done beating Iowa State (12-12, 3-7) 77-68 in a game in which the Longhorns played a very good first half and an equally poor second half.

D.J. Augustin led the Longhorns (17-7, 7-3) with a career-high 31 points, including 10 of 10 from the free throw line. The freshman point guard, along with Kevin Durant, brought on-the-ball energy defensively in the opening minutes, creating numerous turnovers. Offensively, Augustin attacked the Cyclones off the dribble the entire game and hit 3-of-5 from three.

The Longhorns needed every bit of the scoring punch Augustin gave them as Durant had his first off night in Big 12 play, finishing with 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting and 5-of-8 from the free throw line. Throw in a 1-of-10 night from A.J. Abrams and the Longhorns' two leading scorers combined to shoot just 7-of-26.

LONGHORNS PLAYED A COMPLETE FIRST HALF

Texas came out with as much on-the-ball energy on defense as it has all season behind the play of Augustin and Durant. Both freshmen were active with their hands in the passing lanes and on the ball, combining for nine steals in the game. The Longhorn big men did the best job all season of pushing the Iowa State guards out on the screen roll. The result was the Cyclones never finding an offensive flow. Damion James and Connor Atchley were both very aggressive in their pushing out of the Cyclone guards in the opening half.

With the Longhorns bringing energy to the game defensively from the start, the result was nine Iowa State turnovers in the first 14 minutes. The Longhorns took advantage scoring three baskets off of turnovers.

On the offensive end, Texas posted Durant in the mid-range and Rahshon Clark was whistled for three first-half fouls. Clark picked up his second foul at the 13 minute mark in an attempt to dislodge Durant after the catch. A third foul at the 3:23 mark was a similar call. With Clark in foul trouble, Iowa State had to start bringing the double team quicker and more often.

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