Wednesday , Jan , 10 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Longhorns hope to keep winning ways going against Missouri

Austin, TX (Sports Network) – The 25th-ranked Texas Longhorns have proven
worthy of a spot in the latest AP poll, and they will play host to the
Missouri Tigers this evening in Big 12 Conference action.

On Saturday, Missouri dropped a 66-65 decision to Iowa State to begin
league play on a sour note. Despite that setback, the Tigers are 11-3
overall and have a chance tonight of equaling their win total from the entire
2005-06 campaign. They have played only one true road game this season, and
that tilt resulted in a 17-point loss to Purdue last month.

Texas has won three straight games and six of its last seven to improve
to 11-3 overall. On Saturday, the Longhorns put forth one of their best
offensive efforts of the season in a 102-78 romp over Colorado to begin
conference action. They are a perfect 8-0 at home and have every reason to
be confident heading into tonight’s clash.

In fact, Texas has won the last eight meetings with Missouri to take a 10-8
lead in the all-time series between the teams.

Missouri relies heavily on starters Stefhon Hannah and Matt Lawrence to be
productive at the offensive end. Hannah is scoring 16.1 ppg on the strength of
his 43.3 percent shooting from the floor, and he also leads the team with 69
assists and 52 steals. As for Lawrence, he is contributing 13.1 ppg on 53.0
percent accuracy from behind the arc. As a team, the Tigers are racking up 79.5
ppg while limiting foes to 66.4 ppg. They struggled mightily at the offensive
end of the court in Saturday’s loss to Iowa State, connecting on only 37.9
percent of their field goal attempts. They were also outrebounded by a 43-33
margin, overshadowing the fact that they were able to force 20 turnovers.
Marshall Brown paced Missouri with 19 points, and Hannah finished that game
with 17 points.

It is hard to imagine that a freshman could be the best player in the nation,
but that appears to be the case in regard to Texas standout Kevin Durant. He
has led the Longhorns in scoring in nine of the team’s 14 games and is
averaging 22.6 ppg to go along with 10.7 rpg and 28 blocked shots. Colorado had
no answer for the super rookie on Saturday, as he scored a career-high 37
points and pulled down 16 boards. At 6-9, Durant can dominate the paint, and
the fact that he hit 5-of-7 three-pointers against the Buffaloes speaks to his
offensive versatility. Damion James, A.J. Abrams and D.J. Austin all scored 15
points in the victory, and Augustin finished with nine assists and only one
turnover. A 49-27 rebounding advantage played a major role in the win for the
‘Horns. Abrams is scoring 16.5 ppg this season, and Augustin checks in with
13.6 ppg. Texas is averaging 86.4 ppg while limiting its opponents to 69.6 ppg,
and the team is outrebounding foes by 8.3 rpg.