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Texas 76, #11 LSU 75: First Thoughts

HUGE WIN for the Horns. This time Texas gets the best of the Tigers in overtime 76-75.

Of course, it is only December and conference season doesn't start for another month, but a win over a top 15 program after the missed opportunities in NYC and in Phoenix is enormous. We may be young but this Texas team has as much talent as any team in the country and proved tonight that we can win big games. Texas can beat all the Texas Southerns and Texas States they want. No number of wins over inferior opponents will add as much confidence as this win should tonight.

Off Topic: Tonight's college basketball game was a 45 minute exhibit in the debate whether or not end of season playoffs diminish the excitement of the regular season.

Back to the game. Tonight's MVP was definitely DJ Augustin. LSU played man defense for most of the game and DJ picked it apart. Even though he was giving up at least four inches to any Tiger defender, DJ scored time and time again off the dribble around the rim. As a pass first point guard, it was unusual for him to take 19 shots but we really needed his offense. Our outside jumpers weren't falling nor were we falling in love with the three ball like we did against Gonzaga. Augustin put pressure on the defense all game long and really kept the Horns in the game on a night when Kevin Durant and AJ Abrams were off from the outside for much of the game.

How about AJ? His shot wasn't falling early in the game. Thankfully he got hot when it matter most. Abrams finished with 18 points and nailed three straight three pointers late in the second half and in overtime. Kevin Durant completed another double-double but didn't get to 20 points for the first time all year. He was crucial on the glass and snagged a team high 11 rebounds. Damion James had maybe his best game since the first two securing 10 rebounds and scoring 10 points, four of which came on monster slams. This was an athlete's game and James excelled. Other than the four missed free throws at the end, there was nothing to complain about here either.

Last, the much maligned Connor Atchley came through tonight as well. Atchley was able to stretch the defense with two made threes and also worked hard on the defensive glass. LSU was so long and so active on the glass that Barnes was forced to play big. Mason was sent to the bench and the bigger Atchley was given the minutes in crunch time. I usually cringe when I see Connor about to check in but tonight he played hard, hit big shots, and should be applauded.

Our defense was so much better as well. LSU was totally lost against our zone, especially in the first half. For the most part we found their three point shooters and forced tough shots. We contained Big Baby for the first twenty minutes before he took over to begin the second half. Texas forced LSU to score from the outside mostly. Most of their interior scoring came on second chance put backs. Our defensive rebounding is still in need of work.

When it mattered, we got the stop we needed. LSU forced another bad three and it cost them the game. Can anyone explain to me why John Brady didn't implore his team to get the ball to Davis at the high post against Atchley? Davis either has a very makeable 15 footer or can simply take the slower defender to the basket. I don't understand and simply don't care either.

Great job by the Horns and by Rick Barnes. Texas improves to 6-2 with a very winnable stretch of games over the next month. Wow, that was a fun game to watch. HUGE confidence boost.

Next Game: Texas State Saturday 3 PM at the Drum