Texas vs. Kansas: A Champion Emerges From The Phog
Posted by Mike on March 3, 2007
Today at noon, Texas plays the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence. Following the Longhorns’ double overtime win against Texas A&M, these two teams are playing to win the Big 12 Championship. But more importantly, this is my first real chance to see Kevin Durant for an entire game. I’ve heard so much about him, his stats (24.9 points per game) are mind boggling, I’ve seen him for short periods of time, and I believe that he’s the best player in college basketball. He’s 6’10”, but he’s fast, he plays great defense, he can play in the post and he can shoot the three better than most guards. But I have yet to watch him for an entire game until today. I am really, really excited about this. Texas will need all they can get out of Durant and D.J. Augustin, as the Jayhawks have won their last 7 games by an average of more than 20 points (all in conference), have a deeper bench than Texas, and may have the best sixth man in the country, as I’m sure the Extrapolater, a Jayhawks fan, can vouch for.
11:51 am: Here’s a short clip of some Durant highlights, in case you have yet to see him. You have to watch one of his games see his true ability.
12:07 pm: 2-0, Kansas. Julian Wright makes a great post move and give Kansas the first basket of the game.
12:09 pm: DURANT WATCH: Kevin gets his first stat of the game, a block on Wright, but on the ensuing inbound he scores again. 4-0, Kansas.
12:10 pm: 4-3, Kansas. Augustin gets a tough layup and the foul to put Texas on the board.
12:12 pm: 8-4, Texas. Durant Watch: Kevin hits two straight shots, the first a three and the second a midrange floater, to give Texas a 4 point lead.
12:13 pm: 10-6, Texas. Durant Watch: OOOOOHHHHHHHH!!! OOHHHHHHH!!! Texas goes on transition, and Augustin dished it to Durant, who dunks it with authority. Wow. Just…wow.
12:16 pm: What’s worse, the symptoms of Flomax or how gay the guys act in the ad? That may be the most concerning symptom of all.
12:18 pm: 12-6, Texas. Durant Watch: Kevin gets the ball from Augustin and make sa turnaround jumper off the backboard. He’s 4-4.
12:19 pm: 15-8, Texas. Durant Watch: Kevin hits another three. He now has 12 points in 6 minutes, including 2-2 from beyond the arc. His play has been simply unbelievable.
12:22 pm: 18-11, Texas. Durant Watch: Kevin takes a breather on the bench. Kansas immediately takes advantage, as Russell Robinson hits a three to bring the deficit back to single digits.
12:23 pm: 18-15, Texas. When Durant’s away, the Jayhawks play. Kansas blocks two straight shots in the paint, and they both leads to easy dunks on the other end. If anything, that shows you how important Durant is to the Longhorns; they are really struggling to get good shots in his absence, and Kansas is getting easy fast break points as a result of the bad shots.
12:27 pm: Durant Watch: well, that break wasn’t long. Texas has hit 7 FGs, of which 5 are Durant’s.
12:30 pm: 23-17, Texas. Durant Watch: Okay, at this point this entire live blog has become the Durant Watch. He is just friggin’ insane.
12:31 pm: 23-20, Texas. Rush hits a three for Kansas, and then force a turnover on the other end. They will now shoot free throws to reduce the lead to 1.
12:32 pm: 25-22, Texas. Kevin Durant laughs at your measly double teams. A.J. Abrams hits a three to extend the lead to 6.
12:33 pm: 31-22, Texas. Durant hits another three, this time from NBA range. He now has 17 points in 12 minutes. What can you do about a player who can shoot it from halfcourt and run over you for the dunk? Give Yao a Segway?
12:35 pm: 34-24, Texas. The Longhorns are really putting on a show. Too bad the Jayhawk faithful don’t want to see it. But damn, I’m just glad that I could live blog Durant when he single-handedly takes over a game.
12:40 pm: 39-27, Texas. D.J. Augustin hits a three, and is having an extremely good game himself.
12:41 pm: 41-33, Texas. Kansas has hit their last three shots from long range, but they will have to play good defense to get back in the game…
12:42 pm: 44-33, Texas. …unlike their defense on Abrams that last play.
12:43 pm: 49-35, Texas. This is simply f—ing amzing. The Longhorns can;t miss right now. It’s likely a combination of reactive defense ,rather than an active one, on the part of the Jayhawks along with Durant distracting the defense away form the Texas guards.
12:47 pm: 51-35, Texas. Durant catches a lob pass for an easy layup. He now has 22 points in the first half.
12:49 pm: 54-40, Texas. Just when Kansas hits a three and brings the crowd back into it, Durant hits another three from NBA range and re-silences them. He now has 25 points (5-5 from three), and Texas is 11-13 from 3-point range.
12:53 pm: The first half ends, with Texas leading 54-42. Durant had an unbelievable first half, but what impressed me even more than his scoring was the fact that he spent time defending Kansas’ point guard. His versatility is simply unmatched.
Kansas is still in this game, but they will need to play shutdown defense to have any chance of coming back in the second half.
1:09 pm: 54-44, Texas. Sasha Kaun gets the first basket of the second half and reminds us of his existence. Kansas quickly gets a defensive stop and a basket in transition to reduce the deficit to single digits.
1:11 pm: 56-49, Texas. Wright makes a great pass to Kaun, who gets three the hard way in the face of Durant.
1:13 pm: 56-51, Texas. Robinson drives down the lane to reduce the deficit to five two minutes into the second half. Right now Kansas is making Durant look bad on defense. I wonder if that could affect him offensively.
Speaking of which, according to CBS all of Durant’s shots were in the middle or to the right. Kansas will need to test him on the left side an take him out of his comfort zone.
1:16 pm: 56-54, Texas. Robinson scores again, this time a three, to reduce the difference to two. Texas is looking really flat-footed coming out of the locker room, whereas the Jayhawks have a new found energy.
1:18 pm: 58-57, Texas. Chalmers hits another three for Kansas, and Texas has yet to hit a FG in the second half. Kansas now has the ball with a chance to take the lead…
1:19 pm: 59-58, Kansas. And Wright gets it off an offensive rebound! Wow, what a comeback.
1:21 pm: 64-61, Kansas. Abrams finally puts Texas on the board, but Robinson and Wright score again to give Kansas a three point lead, and bring the Phog to a decibel level not heard in a long time.
1:24 pm: 64-63, Kansas. Durant hits his first shot of the second half. Between his last two made shots (separated six minutes from each other), Kansas outscored Texas 24-7.
1:25 pm: 65-64, Texas. Augustin makes another great pass, and Abrams gives the lead back to the Longhorns. Augustin now has 10 assists.
1:27 pm: 66-65, Kansas. Wright gets a shot over a double team, including Durant, and gives the lead back to the Jayhawks. I would say that if Durant has a weakness right now, he needs to improve his defense and rebounding, and for that he will need to put on 10-15 pounds.
1:29 pm: 69-65, Kansas. Chalmers hits another three for Kansas. More importantly, it’s now a two possession game.
1:32 pm: 71-65, Kansas. Wright gets an easy pass, but Kevin Durant is hurt. He rolled both his ankles while making a drive. At this point, Texas is in big trouble. Kansas has all of the momentum and Durant is in the locker room, unlikely to return. However, it was likely a sprain, which means Durant should not miss much action.
1:35 pm: 73-72, Kansas. Texas has scored three baskets on three possessions to make it a 1 point game. It’s almost as if the Durant injury brought back the Longhorns’ focus.
1:36 pm: 78-72, Kansas. Or, maybe not.
1:39 pm: 79-72, Kansas. Durant is out of the locker room and on the Texas bench. We will se him again in this game.
1:40 pm: 81-72, Kansas. Sasha Kaun scores off an offensive rebound to bring the lead to 9. One of the reasons Kansas has made their comeback is because they’ve been killing the Longhorns all day on the boards, and suddenly their shots have stopped falling.
1:46 pm: 81-74, Kansas. Augustin scores a fadeaway for the Horns. Durant has only two point sin the second half.
1:47 pm: 84-74, Kansas. Jackson receives the alley-oop from Brandon Rush. Kansas has outscored Texas 42-20 in the second half.
1:50 pm: 84-76, Kansas. Durant scores in the low post for the Longhorns. He has really been shut down in the second half.
I think the comeback has to do with the bench. Kansas has a deeper team than Texas, and they have kept their fresh legs while Texas seems to have simply run out of gas more than anything in particular that they’ve done wrong.
1:53 pm: 84-78, Kansas. Damion James gets a tough basket inside to bring the lead down to six, but on the next possession Texas commits an offensive foul. They cannot afford to go empty-handed from this point on.
1:56 pm: 86-78, Kansas. Arthur delivers a huge dunk with less than 90 seconds left to extend the lead to 8.
1:58 pm: 86-80, Kansas. James gets another tough shot with 1:08 left. The Longhorns must play mistake-free from now on.
2:03 pm: 87-80, Kansas. With 40 seconds left, Texas misses a three, Kansas rebounds, and this game is pretty much over.
2:05 pm: 88-83, Kansas. Just when you think it’s over, Durant hits a three from the left, and Kansas turns the ball over.
2:07 pm: 88-86, Kansas. OOOHHHH!!! OOOHHHH!!! Abrams takes the inbound pass and drains it with 22 second left to bring it to two.
2:09 pm: 89-86, Kansas. After Kansas misses the second free throw, Augustin passes to Abrams at the baseline, but he misses. Augustin gets the rebound, and fakes out a defender before shooting, but Julian Wright comes from behind to block it. Un-f—ing-believable.
2:11 pm: Kansas wins, 90-86. What an unbelievably exciting game. Texas gets a quick start thanks to Durant’s 25 first half points and D.J. Augustin, but Kansas’ depth pays off, as they’re able to make a comeback in the second half against the tired Longhorns. At the last minute, Texas almost forced a tie and overtime, but Julian Wright, the player of the game, stepped up on defense when Kansas needed him most. Kansas now has won the Big 12 regular season championship, and now controls their #1 seed destiny.