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Augustin's huge night leads Texas past North Texas

Dec 6, 2007 - 4:28 AM AUSTIN, Texas (Ticker) -- Fifth-ranked Texas is doing just fine without Kevin Durant.

D.J. Augustin scored 29 points and A.J. Abrams added 23 as the Longhorns rolled to an 88-72 victory over North Texas on Wednesday.

Durant posted one of the most prolific seasons for a freshman in NCAA history in 2006-07 before leaving for the NBA. He averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds to earn National Player of the Year honors and his departure seemingly left a huge void.

But Texas, which knocked off then-No. 1 UCLA on Sunday, has used a balance attack to help offset the loss of Durant.

Augustin shot 9-of-14 from the floor and dished out 10 assists for Texas (8-0) which had four starters in double figures and has opened the season with eight straight wins for the second time in three seasons.

"All of us work real hard," said Connor Atchley, who scored 12 points. "Everyone on the team gets along, so I think we have good team chemistry. When you have D.J. and A.J. knocking down shots, everyone's playing well."

"They played like the great basketball team that they are," North Texas coach Johnny Jones said. "They did an excellent job of spreading the floor, making shots, rebounding the basketball, making plays, defending on the other end and they do all of the little things that make the difference."

Any questions of whether there would be a letdown following the huge win over UCLA were answered in the first half. The Longhorns, who shot 48 percent (31-of-64) from the floor, opened the game on a 17-3 run and led, 48-26, after 20 minutes.

"We knew we had a big win in Los Angeles, so we wanted to come out here and not have a letdown," Abrams said. "(Coach Rick Barnes) talked about not letting them catch any momentum on the court."

Texas opened up a 64-43 lead with 13:26 remaining in the second half. But North Texas (5-2), which rallied from 21 points down to beat New Mexico State on Saturday, nearly did the same in this one.

Freshman Josh White, who scored a season-high 28 points, hit three 3-pointers during a 15-3 run which helped the Mean Green cut the deficit to 64-55 with 9:51 to play.

"I'm proud of the way our team played in the second half," Jones said. "The big thing is that our guys don't have any quit in them, and they are a tough team. I think they are a team that will challenge you, and I think we did that until the horn sounded. Our guys know when not to give up and they will fight until the very last second."

But Texas responded to the run as Damion James hit a jumper that sparked a 12-6 run to make it 76-61 with 5:43 remaining. North Texas never threatened thereafter.

"They stayed aggressive and you knew they would make a push," Barnes said. "I thought D.J. was terrific the way he closed the game night. The focus has been there, it was a long hard trip coming back from UCLA. We didn't do anything Monday and everything we talked about Tuesday we did try to do."

Keith Wooden scored 17 points for the Mean Green, who shot 44 percent (26-of-58) in the first meeting between the teams since 1981.

"We dug ourselves in a hole in the first half and we never were able to get back into the game," said White, who hit six 3-pointers. "We cut it down to nine in the second half, but they are a great basketball team and they led another run back at us."

    --- --- -----
    NORTH TEXAS 26 46 72
    TEXAS (5) 48 40 88 FINAL

    Dec 5 9:55 PM


    Dec 5 8:53 PM