Saturday , Feb , 24 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Still in the hunt, Longhorns take on Sooners in Norman

Norman, OK (Sports Network) – Still in the hunt for the Big 12 title, the
19th-ranked Texas Longhorns invade Norman this afternoon for a
conference clash with the Oklahoma Sooners.

The Longhorns are a game behind both Kansas and Texas A&M in the league
standings and take on both the Aggies and Jayhawks to close out the regular
season next week. Texas has won four straight entering this contest and
comes in fresh off an 80-51 rout of Texas Tech on Tuesday.

The Sooners have struggled at times this season and are currently
suffering a rough stretch in their schedule, having dropped three straight
games to fall to 6-7 in league play. On Tuesday, the team was in
Columbia, where it fell to Missouri, 72-68.

Oklahoma holds a 45-23 edge in the all-time series, but Texas is the team
trying to complete a regular season sweep, after recording an 80-69
victory in Austin on January 13th. In all, Texas has won two straight
meetings and seven of the last 10.

The Longhorns reached the 20-win plateau for the eighth straight season with
their romp over Texas Tech this week. All five starters notched double figures
in the win, led by A.J. Abrams’ 18 points. All-American candidate Kevin Durant
followed with 17 points, while D.J. Augustin was right behind with 16. Justin
Mason chipped in with 13 points, while Damion James finished things off with a
double-double consisting of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Texas shot a
respectable .491 from the floor in the game, while limiting Tech to a mere
.288 effort. Regarded as perhaps the best player in the college ranks right
now, the 6-9 Durant has proved to be unstoppable in his first season at the
collegiate level. The freshman phenom is shooting .476 from the floor and
leads the Longhorns in scoring (24.4 ppg), rebounding (11.4 rpg), steals (47)
and blocks (47). He can score both inside and out and has 58 three-pointers to
his credit. Abrams and Augustin provide plenty of scoring balance, adding 15.2
and 14.3 ppg, respectively. Abrams is one of the conference’s top snipers,
shooting .429 from long range and amassing 94 treys thus far. This is a potent
offensive unit that is netting 82.7 ppg to rank fifth nationally.

The Sooners have not had the same kind of success that Texas has enjoyed
offensively, but Oklahoma doesn’t have anyone near Durant’s talent leading the
way. The team is shooting a decent enough .448 from the floor this season, but
the result is a bland 68.2 ppg. Center Longar Longar is the top option for OU,
shooting .580 from the floor and pacing the team in both scoring (11.6 ppg)
and rebounding (7.5 rpg). Nate Carter and Michael Neal are a couple of other
scoring options, logging 11.0 and 10.4 ppg, respectively. In the loss to
Missouri, Oklahoma shot just .407 from the floor, but kept things close by
drilling 11 three-pointers in a losing effort. Neal led the way with 18
points, followed by Carter (12 pts) and David Godbold (10 pts). Longar
finished with just seven points in the game.