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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Texas vs. Oklahoma State--Game of the Year?

If you watched any of the Oklahoma State-Texas game Tuesday night (and if you didn't, you better have taped it), you immediately know that the three-overtime thriller will go down as one of the best games in recent memory. It had everything you could ask for--three overtimes, Kevin Durant vs. Mario Boggan/freshman vs. senior, impossible buzzer shots, walk-ons getting key minutes, bench players hitting big shots, back-and-forth offense, a young team hanging in there at one of the toughest venues in college basketball, and more. Once Byron Eaton hit his turnaround shot while falling out of bounds from just inside mid-court as the shot-clock expired, I think we all knew we were in for something special. Oh, by the way, Oklahoma State won, 105-103.

The fun started when Oklahoma State took a 70-65 lead in regulation with just under a minute left. Freshmen sensation Kevin Durant came down and hit a three, and after JamesOn Curry hit only one of two free throws, another Texas freshman, D.J. Augustin hit a big three to send the game into its first overtime. Little did we know, there was still another 15 minutes of basketball to be played.

No one had more than a two-point lead in the first overtime. The freshmen duo of Durant and Augustin came up big down the stretch again for the Longhorns. Durant tied the game at 81 with 24 seconds left on a curl play, and after David Monds finished an alley-oop for Oklahoma State to give them a two-point lead, Augustin sprinted back downcourt for a streaking lay-up to tie it up.

The second overtime again had Oklahoma State in control for the majority of extra time. And, once again, Kevin Durant came to Texas' rescue late. Down by three with a minute left, Durant hit a three to tie the game. Walk-on Tyler Hatch gave the Cowboys a two-point lead, and it looked like they would hold on after Mario Boggan rebounded the missed free throw by Hatch. However, David Monds took an ill-advised three that was partially blocked, leading to a open dunk by Durant at the other end. Texas got the ball back with five seconds left, but Durant missed a three at the buzzer.

The third and final overtime was much of the same. Oklahoma State jumped out to a five-point lead before Texas started their heroics. After a missed three by D.J. Augustin with under two minutes left, backup big man Connor Atchley grabbed the offensive rebound and launched a quick three pointer over Mario Boggan that fell, tying the game at 100. JamesOn Curry gave Oklahoma State a two-point lead with just over a minute left with two free throws, but Texas took only their second lead of the overtimes when Kevin Durant snatched up an air ball by A.J. Abrams and laid it back in while getting fouled by Tyler Hatch. He hit the free throw to give Texas a one-point lead--but this game wasn't done yet. The Cowboys struggled to cross midcourt, but senior Mario Boggan--after nearly losing the ball--pulled up for what seemed like an ill-advised three over two defenders, but it fell down. And once A.J. Abrams double-dribbled with 0.2 seconds left, the party was on.

Now that you're caught up with what went on down the stretch, here's some more observations about this instant classic:

- Can you remember a game with more big shots than this one? Eaton's buzzer shot in the second half, Durant's and-one in the third overtime, Boggan's three to win the game, Atchley's three, Justin Mason's three-pointer in the third overtime as the shot-clock expired, Tyler Hatch's lay-up, pretty much any shot that Durant took, D.J. Augustin's coast-to-coast lay-up in the first overtime, etc. I could go on forever--no matter how big of a highlight package this game gets, there are too many moments for it to cover.

- Look at the senior vs. freshman, Mario Boggan vs. Kevin Durant match-up. Boggan finished with 37 points, 20 rebounds, and 4 blocks, while Durant countered with 37 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks. They both constantly hit big shots, and it was no surprise that one of them hit the eventual game-winning shot.

- The unsung heroes might not have filled up the stat sheet for either team, but there were definitely some. Tyler Hatch was the main one for Oklahoma State. The walk-on played 33 minutes and hit a huge shot in the second overtime, while Connor Atchley of Texas finished with 6 points and 9 rebounds off the bench.

- How about Texas, one of the youngest teams in college basketball history, holding their own on the road and nearly knocking off the Cowboys? Their freshmen played outstanding, especially Durant and D.J. Augustin. Durant is a legit Player of the Year candidate, while Augustin has been one of the best point guards in the country. He is extremely quick and can beat most defenders off the dribble. Forward Damion James had a double-double and he has been playing well as an undersized post man. Don't forget Justin Mason, who finished with 18 points.


- What was with coach Sean Sutton throughout most of the overtimes and down the stretch in regulation? He looked absolutely awful at times, and needed his assistants to hold him up during a timeout. I felt almost uncomfortable just watching him.

- Also, that overhead camera angle sort of grew on me as the game went on. At first, it really bothered me--although the fact that we couldn't see any corner shots from the regular angle and the fans were blocking the regualr camera when they stood up kind of forced them to change. However, once I got used to it, it was clear that one could see the floor better from the "high slash" angle that they changed to.

- Oklahoma State really struggled against the pressure of Texas, especially without Eaton, who fouled out. JamesOn Curry had seven turnovers and never seemed comfortable with the ball in his hands. Also, the Cowboys late-game possessions, when the ball wasn't in Boggan's hands, were awful. With Oklahoma State up two in regulation, Curry took a goofy spinning lay-up with plenty of time left on the shot clock. He got the offensive rebound, but it was a bad shot no matter what. David Monds' ill-advised three-pointer that was partially blocked that led to Durant's dunk in the second overtime nearly cost the Cowboys the game. They could have held the ball for another 15 seconds or so. Lastly, in the first overtime, Terrell Harris' pass to David Monds in the corner with three seconds left didn't make sense. He had one defender to beat, but decided to pass to Monds, who ended up shooting an airball at the buzzer.

- Finally, even without the 105-103 score or the three overtimes, the stats show the game was ridiculously close. Check these numbers out: Both teams had 16 assists, 9 blocks, 10 steals, and shot exactly 36.4 percent from three-point range. Texas took 29 free throws, Oklahoma State took 28. Texas had 19 turnovers, Oklahoma State had 20. Texas had 24 fouls, Oklahoma State 22. OSU had 51 rebounds, Texas had 46.

Yeah, this game was definitely the 2006-2007 Game of the Year.

1 Comments:

Anonymous John T Franco said...

Definately game of the year!

Reminds me of Adams Morrison vers Maurice Ager in their classic game!

12:07 AM  

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