I've offered my initial thoughts and jubilation behind over OT win against the LSU Tigers. Let's take a look at the individual performances.
DJ Augustin 25 points (9/16), 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 turnovers in 41 min
DJ was without question the star of this one. He consistently broke down the defense with his dribble penetration. And unlike in the Gonzaga game, he was able to finish around the rim. Augustin again showed the composure of a much more experienced player. He is calm in the half court and equally calm at the line (7/7 in this game). For playing 41 minutes and handling the ball almost exclusively when he is in the game, five turnovers is an acceptable number. Without DJ's performance there is no way we win this one. College basketball is a guards' game. With Augustin running the show we are already a dangerous team.
Kevin Durant 10 points (5/15), 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 4 blocks in 43 min
Even though his outside shot wasn't dropping, Durant still found ways to contribute. For the first time in his young career, he failed to score 20 or more points. Durant struggled especially from the outside missing all four of his three point attempts. On offense, Durant must use his height and length more effectively in the low post and can't give slower defenders breaks by shooting long contested threes. Durant did not falter on the defensive end though. He helped control the defensive glass as much as possible for the smaller and less athletic Horns. He also played solid defense and blocked four shots. KD must demand the ball more on offense for this time to reach its full potential.
Damion James 10 points (5/7), 13 rebounds, 2 blocks in 36 min
If we lose this game, fingers could easily get pointed at James' four straight missed free throws in overtime. He must become a better free throw shooter for Texas to be able to win the close ones. But since we won, let's instead focus on his energy. James was very active on both ends securing his first double-double of his career. He helped defend Davis and was especially effective in the first half. James ran the floor well and made the Tigers pay with a thunderous dunk in the second half. He also crashed the boards well. James is an outstanding athlete but tonight was faced a few guys just as athletic. He didn't back down though. James scratched, clawed, and worked his butt off for nearly 40 minutes. Damion also came up with the final loose ball to seal the victory. This was easily James' best game since the first two of the year.
AJ Abrams 18 points (6/14), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, just 1 turnover in 40 min
Abrams struggled some in the first half against the taller Tiger defenders. Thankfully he found his stroke and his confidence in the clutch. Abrams scored six of Texas' eight points in overtime on back to back made three pointers. Good shooters rarely have their confidence broken. AJ's was certainly still intact when he launched those two crucial and deep jumpers with the game on the line. He didn't play well in Phoenix and didn't shoot the ball well for the first 35 minutes of this one either. But in the end, our most experience starter came up big.
Jay Mason 4 points (1/8), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers in 24 min
Mason was the only Texas starter who didn't really contribute. Mason is really a shooting guard who plays as an undersized small forward for Texas. Against LSU he wasn't able to overcome his lack of height. Mason is not an excellent outside shooter and relies on slashing to the basket to score. He took some bad shots after entering a clogged lane a couple of times in the first half and never really found his rhythm. Mason also had difficulty blocking out taller and more athletic defenders on defense. Credit Rick Barnes for going to a bigger more effective lineup.
Connor Atchley 9 points (3/5), 6 rebounds, 1 block in 27 min
This was one of Connor's best games as a Longhorn. He contributed on both ends. On offense he hit two huge threes and made 1/2 from the free throw line. And on defense, he really worked hard on the glass. Even though he is not the best athlete his size came in handy tonight.
Matt Hill 0 points (0/0), 1 rebound in 7 min
Coach Barnes went with Mason and Atchley for the most part. Hill played just a few minutes and never really got into the flow of the game. His post defense was effective during his short stint on the floor. Basically, Hill didn't match up well with the LSU and Coach Barnes made the wise move to use Mason and Atchley instead.