The guard tandem of D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams is one of the best in the nation, and when they’re both playing well, Texas is tough to beat.
Augustin and Abrams hope to build off the strong performances they had last time out when the 12th-ranked Longhorns (18-4, 5-2 Big 12) visit Iowa State on Saturday.
Augustin is second in the Big 12 in scoring at 19.8 points per game, while Abrams is third at 17.5, but they’ve each had some subpar efforts lately.
Last Saturday, Augustin had just nine points on 1-of-7 shooting in an 80-72 win over then-No. 25 Baylor. In Texas’ previous game, Augustin went 6-of-18 from the field, but Abrams was even worse as he had eight points on 3-of-13 shooting in an 80-63 loss at Texas A&M on Jan. 30.
Abrams bounced back from that game to score 20 points last Saturday to help make up for Augustin’s poor performance. Both were back on track Wednesday in a 64-54 win over Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, as Abrams scored 22 points and Augustin added 19 to go with his seven assists.
The backcourt duo scored all of the Longhorns’ points in a 10-0 surge midway through the second half that put them ahead to stay.
“We got some very good play tonight from our guards,” coach Rick Barnes said.
Although Texas made just 38.6 percent from the field against the Sooners, it made all 11 of its free throws and turned the ball over only five times.
“You’ve got to play with the game plan and never lose confidence. That’s what it’s all about,” said Abrams, who hit four free throws and had no turnovers.
Abrams had one of the worst performances of his career in last season’s only meeting with Iowa State, but Augustin had one of his best and the Longhorns won 77-68 in Austin.
Augustin scored a career-high 31 points, going 9-of-13 from the floor and making all 10 of his free throws, while adding six assists and four steals. Abrams had just five points on 1-of-10 shooting.
As a freshman, Abrams had three points on 1-of-4 shooting but handed out eight assists in a 78-58 victory at Iowa State on Jan. 9, 2006.
Texas is 2-5 at Hilton Coliseum, and has never won consecutive trips there. The Longhorns and Cyclones have split their 16 meetings, but Texas has won seven of 11 since the Big 12 was formed in 1996-97.
Iowa State (13-10, 3-5) is coming off a 69-51 loss to No. 18 Texas A&M on Tuesday to snap its nine-game home winning streak.
The Cyclones had a 22-19 lead late in the first half, but the Aggies responded with a 20-4 run to blow open the game.
“Give them credit. For 20 minutes, we showed that we belonged with a team that is as good as A&M, and in the second half they showed why they are a top 20 team,” Iowa State coach Greg McDermott said. “And we showed why we’re not like A&M.”
The Cyclones are the second-worst scoring team in the conference (64.6 points per game), and they’ve been even worse lately. Iowa State is averaging 56.0 points on 37.2 percent shooting in its last five games, losing four.
Cyclones center Jiri Hubalek, averaging a team-high 12.2 points, finished with 18 points for the second straight game on Tuesday. He also had 18 points against the Longhorns last season.
McDermott has lost all seven games against ranked teams since taking over the Iowa State program last season. The Cyclones have dropped nine straight to Top 25 opponents since defeating then-No. 12 Iowa 72-60 on Dec. 9, 2005.