December 21, 2006

Mason bails Longhorns out

It had to end like it did Wednesday night. The old SWC rivalry game between Texas and Arkansas, which hadn't been played since 1991, came down to the wire just like it should. After a second half in which Texas could only muster up six of 15 from the foul line headed into the closing seconds, freshman guard Justin Mason bailed out the Longhorns with 12 seconds remaining.

With Texas holding a 75-74 lead, Arkansas threw a nifty short lob to forward Sonny Weems (15 points) for a point blank score to put the Razorbacks (8-3) up 76-75.

With the seconds ticking away, it was time for one of the young Longhorns to step up when the lights were the brightest. Enter Mason, who put the ball on the floor against the Arkansas zone defense penetrating to the middle of the lane and scoring on a floater with 12 seconds remaining. Mason, who was fouled on the play, hit the free throw after a Texas (8-2) timeout to give the Longhorns a 78-76 lead.

After Arkansas junior Gary Ervin missed a pair of free throws with five seconds left, Kevin Durant iced the game with two free throws of his own providing the final outcome 80-76. Durant, who entered the game shooting 91.5 percent from the foul line, had struggled making only five of nine before coming through with the game clinching pair.

Texas took a 41-37 lead into the half behind the solid play of D.J. Augustin, who finished with 16 points and four steals. It was a third straight game in which Augustin has picked up his scoring when the Longhorns needed it.

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