January 25, 2007

Longhorns squeak out win in Lincoln

The Texas Longhorns got out of Lincoln with a much needed win Wednesday holding on for dear life in beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 62-61. By season's end, the victory by Texas won't be looked upon as a well played game, but getting a win was paramount after dropping the first two of the three-game road trip. With the victory, the Longhorns improve to 4-1 in Big 12 play with an upcoming home date against Baylor Saturday.


The Longhorns played active with their feet and hands, making Nebraska center Aleks Maric work hard for every basket. While 15 points and 12 rebounds sounds like a good line, the Longhorns did a much better job of slowing down the opponent's big man than in past games.

The combination of making the Cornhusker guards work to get an entry pass to Maric and the active interior defense made for a tough night for the junior center. Maric scored only three uncontested baskets in the game and there were seemingly two or three Longhorn defenders draped on the 6-foot-11, 270-pound big man on every catch.

Also helping the cause to slow down the Cornhuskers' top scorer was the Longhorns' defense of ball screens and slowing down the dribble drives by the Nebraska guards. Texas did a better job of showing on the ball screens and keeping the Nebraska guards from turning the corner and creating straight line drives, which have resulted in fouling situations from the Texas big men or easy baskets and passes for scores in recent games.


In a game where Texas was much more active in half court sets and kept the ball moving side to side, the Longhorns best offense against the smallish Cornhuskers was often times a long jumper with Kevin Durant on the weak side to grab an offensive rebound and score. With Nebraska sometimes defending Durant with a player 6-4 or smaller, there was no stopping the long armed forward on the offensive glass. Durant grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the game, scoring on a number of them.

Texas pulled down 13 offensive rebounds in the game.

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