UT's little guys pose big problem

By Scott Wright Modified: February 23, 2008 at 2:25 am •  Published: February 23, 2008
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AUSTIN, Texas — In basketball culture, where bigger is better, Texas guards D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams are making a stand for the little guy.

Neither stands taller than 6 feet and together don't outweigh some of Mack Brown's linemen. Small as they are, they still manage to form one of the best guard tandems in the country, which makes quite a mismatch for most every team in the Big 12.

The obvious challenge for Oklahoma when it faces Texas at 2:30 p.m. today at the Erwin Center is stopping Augustin and Abrams, who combined for 41 points in the Longhorns' 64-54 win in Norman on Feb. 6.

That's the challenge, but it's not the key to an OU upset.

If the Sooners want to knock off the seventh-ranked Horns, they'll have to get consistent offensive production from their guards, no matter how much energy the guards have to spend chasing Texas' jitterbug backcourt around on the other end of the floor.

"It's kind of hard, because you're gonna be chasing them all night, and it's gonna wear you down,” said point guard Austin Johnson, who has scored a combined 39 points in OU's last two wins. "It's about being smart. When you can get a breather, take the best of it. And when you come down to the offensive end, you've got to have a lot of focus. Don't let fatigue get to you.”

While Augustin's points came more quietly in the last meeting with OU, Abrams made four 3-pointers, three of which came at crucial times to put the Sooners away. And he does his best work when he's moving, bouncing around the perimeter and coming off screens to get open shots.

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