AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—Texas slugged its way through a tough battle on its home court. Now comes a Top Ten test for the unbeaten Longhorns.
D.J. Augustin scored 24 points and the fourth-ranked Longhorns beat Oral Roberts 66-56 on Tuesday night, a close game in a season full of blowouts.
Next up is No. 9 Michigan State at Auburn Hills, Mich., on Saturday
“We keep playing like we’re playing, we’ll be all right,” Augustin said.
Texas (11-0) had won nine of its first 10 games by 15 or more points—the close one was a 63-61 win over then-No. 2 UCLA—but found itself in a tough one down the stretch against the Golden Eagles (6-4).
Augustin’s dazzling drives and late free throw shooting to put the game away. He scored 10 of Texas’ final 17 points. Connor Atchley added 16 points for the Longhorns.
“Coach just wanted us to be aggressive and attack their big men and attack their guards. Everybody stepped up tonight and played great,” Augustin said.
Texas led 49-46 with just under nine minutes left when Augustin took the game over, blowing past defenders for baskets or drawing fouls for free throws. He was 6-of-20 from the field but made up for it with an 11-of-12 effort from the line and timely layups when Texas needed them.
Oral Roberts coach Scott Sutton said the officials were calling a tight game, allowing Augustin to draw fouls by getting contact with defenders.
“It makes it almost impossible to guard D.J. because he is so good with the basketball and he is so quick,” Sutton said.
The first half looked like Oral Roberts could pull an upset equal to its win at then-No. 3 Kansas last season.
The Golden Eagles brought the most athletic lineup the Longhorns have faced on their home court this season, with 6-foot-10 center Shawn King causing problems in the middle early.
King scored eight points, the Golden Eagles outrebounded Texas 20-18 and had 11 second-chance points as the teams went into halftime tied 33-33. Texas missed a chance to take the lead when Damion James missed a two-handed putback dunk with about 15 seconds left.
A.J. Abrams, one of the Big 12’s top 3-point shooters, was held scoreless in the first half on 0-for-4 shooting and took only one attempt from behind the arc.
Things quickly changed in the second. King picked up his fourth foul and Abrams hit two quick baskets that built a 38-33 Texas lead.
Oral Roberts’ offensive rebounding disappeared in the second half. The Golden Eagles were held to one shot on four straight possessions and Augustin hit a 3-pointer that pushed the Texas lead to eight.
The Longhorns couldn’t put together the big run to turn it into another rout. Oral Roberts cut the lead to 49-46 when Marcus Lewis drove past two defenders for a tough layup and Kelvin Sango finished a fast break with an easy one.
Augustin’s dazzling drives pushed Texas to the win.
His moves in the lane drew fouls that sent him to the line for four straight points. Another twisting, spinning burst left a defender tangled in his own feet as Augustin finished a layup for a 60-49 lead with just over five minutes left.
“One-on-one, nobody’s going to stop him, nobody’s going to stop his passing,” Abrams said. “It’s pick your poison. He can drive right by and if you sag back, he’ll pass.”
Oral Roberts had time to catch up but the shots wouldn’t go in. Augustin, meanwhile, kept bleeding seconds off the clock with his dribble.
The Golden Eagles had one last chance when a mistake by Augustin led to a turnover. Adam Liberty hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 to play that cut the lead to 65-56 but Oral Roberts didn’t score again.
Liberty scored 12 points and Marchello Vealy had 11 points and eight rebounds for Oral Roberts.