Due to Ice Storm 2007, the schools and the city of Austin are shut down for the third day in a row. Consequently, I have a lot of time on my hands. I just finished watching the OSU game and was struck by a couple of things.
First, the refs were not that bad, and it was nothing like the hose job Texas got in Knoxville against the Vols. Deciding between a charge and block is the most difficult call for a referee to make. After reviewing the tape, both of DJ's offensive fouls were probably called correctly as was Kevin Durant's charge. The only questionable one that went against the Horns was the charge called on Justin Mason has he drove baseline from the three point arc in the first half. Mason clearly left the ground before the defender established position. Overall, though, the refs were pretty good. They let the kids play and correctly avoiding becoming part of the outcome. Outstanding play decided this one, not the refs.
Second, AJ Abrams played an even worse game than I originally thought. His defense was downright disgusting. He single handedly let Byron Eaton score double figures. And his offense was worse. AJ made his second and final field goal with six minutes left to go in regulation. He made two shots in 55 minutes of action! Abrams did knock down some free throws in OT but connected on nothing from the floor. Rick Majerus correctly pointed out all game Abrams' inability to shoot off the dribble. Abrams is really a catch and shoot scorer. A good one, but a limited one.
Last, I was struck by how resilient this young team was last night. There were countless times when the Horns could have rolled over but they continued to fight. I was also struck by how everyone on the floor (except Abrams) came up with a big play down the stretch.
Regulation: Down 65-70 with 1 min left
Clutch three pointers by Durant and Augustin send the game into OT.
Defense holds as JamesOn Curry misses jumper from 15 feet.
1st OT: Down 79-81 with 30 sec left
Block by Damion James on defense leads to Durant jumper from the elbow. Tie game.
1st OT: Down 81-83 with 16 sec left
Augustin pushes after made basket and finishes with amazing backwards layin.
Defense holds in final seconds of first OT.
2nd OT: Down 91-93 with 16 sec left
Durant scores on run-out dunk to tie game.
Durant misses three pointer to win.
3rd OT: Down 93-98 with 4 min left
Durant makes one of two from the line and Mason knocks down three pointer with no time on shot clock. 97-98 OSU.
3rd OT: Down 100-102 with 20 sec left
Durant puts back missed runner by Abrams and gets fouled. Texas 103-102.
How great would it have been had that been the last play? Again, congratulations to Mario Boggan who made an amazing three (foot was actually on the line) while being harassed by Augustin and Atchley.
Last night was a fabulous college basketball game. It doesn't get much better than that. The most encouraging thing is this team is only going to get better. The biggest area of weakness remains the defense. When we start holding opponents closer to 40% from the floor, this team is going to be unstoppable.