Longhorns stampede over Sooners

February 23, 2008 4:18:35 PM PST
D.J. Augustin scored 19 points and No. 7 Texas' defense smothered Oklahoma in a 62-45 win Saturday, holding the Sooners to a season-low point total. The Texas point guard quickly turned up court, spun a Sooner completely around with a crossover dribble, then finished the break with a layup that put Texas up by 15 points.

That 7-second burst early in the second half demonstrated a perfect combination of defense and D.J. that has catapulted No. 7 Texas to the top of the Big 12.

With Augustin spinning, twisting and shooting his way to 19 points and a defense that held Oklahoma to a season-low point total, Texas cruised to a 62-45 win that set a school record with the Longhorns' seventh straight Big 12 victory.

And a few minutes after they left the court, Texas (23-4, 10-2) was left alone in first place when Oklahoma State beat No. 4 Kansas 61-60.

Texas also has won five in a row and 10 of the last 13 in one of the conference's best rivalries, but one that has been decidedly one-sided in recent years. The last five wins have all been by 10 points or more.

"They are playing as well as anybody in the country," Sooners coach Jeff Capel said. "(And) people should really start mentioning Augustin for national player of the year."

Texas had the player of the year last season in freshman Kevin Durant. But he left for the NBA, leaving Augustin to take over a team that has been on a roll after a 3-2 start in the Big 12.

The Longhorns have been perfect for the month of February behind a defense that has held five of the last six opponents under 40 percent shooting.

The Sooners got the worst of it Saturday, missing their first 10 shots in a 14-of-53 (26 percent) effort for the game. Blake Griffin scored 16 points and grabbed 16 rebounds but he was the only Oklahoma player with more than two field goals.

Oklahoma (18-9, 6-6) knew early it was going to be a struggle to score. The Longhorns swarmed Griffin under the basket, forcing him to a miss a dunk and two more close shots.

Augustin, meanwhile, scored 12 points in the first half, breaking down the Sooners on the dribble and pulling up for jumpers when he couldn't.

With a strong and compact 5-foot-11 frame, Augustin probes defenses for openings and his best move of late has been to drive the baseline before pulling up for a 12-foot fallaway jumper that seems to torment defenders.

The Longhorns closed the first half with a 9-2 run, with Augustin chipping in six, including a tough jumper in the lane over Griffin.

"I told him you've got to do it now and he did," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "He gave us the separation we needed."

Augustin's breakaway early in the second put Texas up 38-23 and was the dagger that killed the Sooners' hopes of a rally. Oklahoma never made another run to get back in the game.

"It's an incredible luxury as a coach to have a guy that you trust out there to run everything, to orchestrate everything," Capel said. "His little runners, his floaters, he can hit awkward shots. He has all the tools and is a really special point guard."

Texas was just as dominant under the basket. Even with Griffin gobbling up rebounds, Texas outscored the Sooners 32-14 in the paint. Damion James had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Longhorns.

Defensively, Texas never let up.

After Griffin was able to power over two defenders for a layup, Connor Atchley blocked Griffin on the next possession. The Big 12's leading shot blocker then stuffed Taylor Griffin on the Sooners' next shot.

Texas held the Sooners to six points in the first 9 minutes of the second half and Atchley's three-point play put the Longhorns up 47-27.

"They obviously pride themselves on playing hard every possession with tough defense and not letting you get an easy shot," Blake Griffin said. "We'd get on the post and they'd (constantly) bring help."

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