AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The Texas freshmen are too young to
remember the wild and woolly days of the Longhorns' old rivalry
No matter. Their 80-76 win over the Razorbacks on Wednesday
night was exciting enough to stand up to the barnburners of the old
Freshman guard Justin Mason's driving layup and free throw with
12 seconds left sent the Longhorns to the win in the first meeting
between the old Southwest Conference rivals since 1991.
"Coach (Rick Barnes) told us it was a Duke-North Carolina kind
of thing," said Longhorn freshman forward Kevin Durant, who scored
a game-high 28 points and hit two free throws in the final seconds
that sealed the victory.
"He told us to come out with a chip on our shoulder," Durant
said. "This was a great win for our program."
It was the first meeting between the old SWC rivals since
"Tournament" Tom Penders and "Strollin" Nolan Richardson were
coaching the Longhorns and Razorbacks through some entertaining
basketball. The last time they met, Arkansas rolled to a 120-89 win
in the SWC championship game.
The Longhorns start four freshmen who were toddlers back then.
And while this one didn't produce those kind of fireworks, it
brought plenty of drama to the start of a new four-game series.
Arkansas had taken a 76-75 lead when Sonny Weems scored on an
inbounds pass near the basket. Texas then got the ball to Mason,
who drove the lane, hit the layup and drew the foul on Weems.
The Razorbacks had been sitting in a zone defense and expected
the Longhorns to get the ball to Durant or guard D.J. Augustin for
the last shot.
"The last thing I thought would happen is somebody drive
through the zone defense," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath. "I
don't think anybody in the building thought Mason would take that
Mason hit the layup and the free throw for the 78-76 lead.
"Maybe I surprised them because throughout the game they
weren't focused on me," Mason said.
Arkansas had a chance to tie it when Gary Ervin drew a foul with
five seconds left, but he missed the two free throws.
Durant scored 15 points in the second half. D.J. Augustin added
16 points. Mason finished with 10 points and seven assists for
The Razorbacks opened the second half with a 16-6 run that
quieted the home crowd. Beverley hit a pair of 3-pointers from the
wing when Durant got stuck on defense under the basket, and Weems
drove the baseline for a fist-pumping dunk as Arkansas took a 53-47
It didn't last long. Durant scored two straight baskets and
Augustin drove the baseline for a layup and then hit a 3-pointer.
Durant's one-handed baseline jam capped the rally that retook the
But the Razorbacks kept finding soft spots in Texas' perimeter
defense. Beverley and Weems connected for two more 3-pointers from
the corners to keep Texas from pulling away.
Arkansas led 69-68 before A.J. Abrams, Texas' best long-range
shooter, hit his second 3-pointer of the half for a 71-69 Texas
lead with just over three minutes to play.