Instant Analysis: Texas at Baylor
Originally Published: February 16, 2008By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com
WACO, Texas -- ESPN.com's Tim Griffin provides instant analysis from Texas' 82-77 escape at Baylor on Saturday.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Texas' frontcourt of Damion James, Gary Johnson and Connor Atchley had their way against Baylor's less athletic defenders inside. The trio combined for 42 points and 22 rebounds as the Longhorns dominated in the paint. HOW THE GAME WAS REALLY WON: Texas had just enough left to withstand a furious late Baylor rally. After the Longhorns led by 12 points with less than two minutes remaining, the Bears climbed back in on a 10-0 run keyed by 3-pointers by Tweety Carter and Henry Dugat. Texas missed four straight foul shots during the run, including back-to-back front ends of one-and-one by D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams. But Texas regained its shooting form to salt the game away. PLAYER OF THE GAME: Texas forward James led his team with 19 points and 10 rebounds and was a beast for Baylor to match up with. BEST PLAYER ON THE FLOOR: Even sputtering with shooting woes and wearing down late in the game, Augustin was Texas' best all-around weapon. Augustin was limited to eight points, but still provided six rebounds and a game-high 10 assists. BLINK AND YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS: Texas got a huge lift out of underrated guard Justin Mason, who produced 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Even bigger was his usual solid defensive effort against a variety of flummoxed Baylor shooters. SUPER SUB: Baylor guard LaceDarius Dunn provided a team-high 19 points, including four of the Bears' eight 3-pointers, to help keep the Bears in the game until their late charge. STAT OF THE GAME: Baylor's usually reliable duo of Aaron Bruce and Curtis Jerrells combined to clank all nine of their 3-point attempts. Both rank among the top 15 in the Big 12 in 3-pointers.
TURNING POINT: Baylor's offense was in shambles as the Bears missed nine of their first 10 shots. Texas took advantage with a run of seven straight points, punctuated by a turnaround by Atchley with 14:27 left to give the Horns an early 12-4 lead. And it got worse from there as the Bears missed 25 of their first 29 shots, including their first 14 3-pointers before Dunn's 3 with 4:23 left. Hard to believe the Bears were second in the Big 12 in 3-point shooting percentage coming into the game. TURNING POINT II: After trailing by as many as 12 points earlier in the half, the Bears charged back into the game on a late 8-3 spurt capped by Carter's spinning basket with 38 seconds left that pulled them within 32-28. PLAYER OF THE HALF: Texas freshman forward Johnson was dominant inside, scoring a game-high 11 points and grabbing seven rebounds to lead his team. BLOCK OF THE HALF: Texas forward James wowed a group of NBA scouts sitting at courtside when he soared high to reject Jerrells late in the first half. STAT OF THE HALF: Powered by James and Johnson, who combined for 21 of Texas' 34 points, the Longhorns outscored the Bears 22-12 in the paint. STAT OF THE HALF II: Baylor had been mugged on the backboards in its recent slump. But the Bears turned that around by grabbing six rebounds before Texas picked up its first carom. BEST FASHION STATEMENT: Texas forward Johnson looked like something out of the WWE wearing a gruesome-looking plastic mask to protect his nose, which was broken in two places last week. But it didn't hurt him in establishing position in the paint. GRATUITOUS SHOW OF FAN SUPPORT: A sellout crowd of 10,521 was the largest ever to attend a game at Baylor's Ferrell Center. How ready were the Baylor students? As Texas players were introduced, fans under both baskets chanted "Kill, Kill, Kill." CELEBRITY WATCH: Former Texas standout Kevin Durant took advantage of his break with the Seattle SuperSonics by attending his old team's game. Durant, wearing a Nike warm-up and a Pittsburgh Pirates hat and protected from potential autograph seekers by a security official, had a lot to cheer about early. Tim Griffin is a college football and basketball writer for ESPN.com.
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