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James' key steal helps Texas avoid upset

Jan 3, 2008 - 1:58 AM AUSTIN, Texas (Ticker) -- Damion James loves to rebound. Luckily for Texas, he plays defense and scores too.

James scored a career-high 29 points with 14 rebounds and came up with a key steal late to help No. 14 Texas avoid a third straight loss with a 67-59 victory over Texas Christian on Wednesday.

Despite playing without its second-leading scorer A.J. Abrams, Texas snapped its two-game skid thanks to huge efforts from James and D.J. Augustin.

James shot 9-of-15 the floor, while Augustin battled foul trouble to score 20 points, including a huge 3-pointer in the final three minutes.

"I never look to score," James said. "I love to rebound. I just want to rebound, it's not about me, it's about the team."

Texas held a slim three-point lead with just over three minutes left when James swung the momentum with a steal near half court as he fell over the scorer's table. That led to a 3-pointer for Augustin that helped the Longhorns hang on for the win.

"That was a great play for us and it changed the game," Augustin said. "That is what we need from Damion. He can change the game anytime with his athleticism and he plays hard with intensity."

"I'm not sure where he came from," TCU coach Neil Dougherty said. "But I know he covered an awful lot of ground. He is one heck of an athletic basketball player. That play capped off by the 3-pointer by Augustin really hurt us. I thought we were in decent shape before James' play, where he not only got to the ball, but he saved the ball as well. That put us pretty much too deep to recover."

TCU went ahead, 41-37, in the opening 72 seconds of the second half, but Texas got 13 points from Augustin during a 16-2 run that put it up 53-43 with 10:17 to play.

Keion Mitchem hit three straight shots from the arc for the Horned Frogs to slice the lead to 59-54 with 4:44 left, and Jason Ebie converted a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game with 3:52 left.

But after a miss by Texas, James intercepted a pass as he was heading out of bounds near the scorer's table. He then flung a pass behind his back to Justin Mason, who found Augustin for the huge 3-pointer that swung the momentum and made it a six-point lead at 62-56 with three minutes to play.

Mason then added a shot from the arc with 1:20 remaining to put the game out of reach.

Texas was in trouble in the first half as it was without Abrams, who sat out with a foot injury. Abrams is second on the team with 18.8 points per game.

TCU battled throughout and gave Texas all it could handle by hitting 12-of-29 3-pointers.

"I'm not very comfortable shooting 29 3-pointers in a game," Dougherty said. "When you play against a defense like Texas you are almost happy when you get eight of them, regardless of where they come from. We could've made a couple more that would've obviously helped our cause."

Henry Salter scored 19 points for the Horned Frogs, who trailed, 34-32, at halftime.

    --- --- -----
    TCU 32 27 59
    TEXAS (14) 34 33 67 FINAL

    Jan 2 7:05 PM
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    TCU vs. Texas(14)Jan 2 6:21 PM
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    TCU vs. Texas(14)Jan 2 6:09 PM

    TCU 32
    (14) TEXAS 34 HALFTIME

    Jan 2 5:51 PM