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January 22, 2008
STILLWATER, Okla. ? With Texas struggling on offense, D.J. Augustin showed why he's the Longhorns' leader.
The sophomore point guard scored the 12th-ranked Longhorns' final 10 points Monday night, leading them to a 63-61 victory over Oklahoma State.
Augustin scored six straight points as the Longhorns held Oklahoma State scoreless for a 6-minute span for the second time in the game and took the lead, then hit all four of his free throws in the final minute to keep the Cowboys at bay.
"He's struggled a little bit here of late. I just liked his demeanor, the way he carried himself," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "The fact that he went up there and made those was really big. We all know how important he is."
Augustin scored 26 points, his most since Nov. 23, and Damion James added 12 points and 12 rebounds as Texas (15-3, 2-1 Big 12) earned its second straight two-point victory.
"When we needed to make a couple plays, we made them," Barnes said.
Oklahoma State had a final chance to tie, but James Anderson's 3-pointer from the left side rimmed out with 11 seconds left. Marcus Dove's putback also missed, and Augustin corralled the rebound and tucked it into his stomach to earn another trip to the free throw line with 5.7 seconds left.
Obi Muonelo's 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left provided the final margin, and Justin Mason was able to hang on to an errant inbounds pass to prevent the Cowboys from getting one last possession.
Anderson finished with 17 points, Byron Eaton added 14 and Dove scored 11 as Oklahoma State (10-8, 1-3), which lost for the first time in 10 home games this season.
The Cowboys, who rallied from a 10-point deficit, led 54-51 after Eaton's 3-pointer from the left wing with 8:31 remaining but didn't make another field goal until Dove's layup cut Texas' lead to 59-58 with 23 seconds left.
"We knew they were going to make runs. They play well at home, and we knew that," Augustin said. "The crowd's going to get behind them and push them, and they were going to feed off of that.
"We just had to get stops and play together, and that's what we did."
During Oklahoma State's drought, Anderson and Muonelo each missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Eaton stepped on the baseline for a turnover and the Cowboys also let the shot clock expire twice on blocked shots.
"You make mistakes late in the game, those mistakes are magnified," Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton said. "You don't have time to recover from them."
Dove and Terrel Harris combined to score all of Oklahoma State's points during a 10-0 run early in the second half that erased the deficit built during a 6-minute scoreless stretch just before halftime.
Harris' 3-pointer from the left wing put the Cowboys ahead 45-43 with 14:32 to play.
Oklahoma State took its final lead on Eaton's 3. Mason put back A.J. Abrams' missed 3-pointer on Texas' next possession, and Augustin took over from there.
He made three straight baskets to stake the Longhorns to a 59-54 lead, and made just enough plays down the stretch to seal the victory. Barnes took away his ball-handling responsibilities, and thought he was better able to get open on the wing instead of from the point.
"They've got a special player in Augustin," Sutton said. "We kept everybody else in check pretty much throughout the game, but he gets you out there so spread out and they isolate the court, it's like you're almost on an island out there by yourself."
Abrams went 0-for-7 from 3-point range, snapping a streak of 54 straight games with a 3 that stretched back to the 2005-06 season. It continued a miserable shooting stretch from outside for the junior, who is 8-for-39 (21 percent) from 3-point range over his last four game.
In a two-game stretch earlier this season, he hit 17 3-pointers. He scored a season-low six points against the Cowboys.
"A.J.'s a marked man," Barnes said. "He's going to have to work hard every night."
Augustin hit two 3-pointers in a 13-0 run as the Longhorns held Oklahoma State without a basket for 6 minutes to take a 39-27 lead. Eaton finally broke the Cowboys' drought with a driving layup with 32 seconds left before halftime, and his two free throws cut the deficit to 41-31 at the break.
After rallying from a 10-point deficit to beat Colorado by two points in their last game, the Longhorns had to hang on after their own double-digit lead this time.
"Sometimes we overanalyze this, and it's just part of the game. You go through it," Barnes said. "The good thing is we know we haven't peaked. That's the good thing, and I don't think you want to be a team that's playing your best basketball right now.
"Even though you want to play great every time you go out, it's just not going to happen."