Longhorn freshman Kevin Durant led all scorers with 28 points (9-of-22 FG) and nearly half of Texas' boards with 14. Four Horns scored in double-figures, but one of the story lines is that Texas only got two points from its bench. The Aggies, meanwhile, were hit with early foul trouble but got 26 points from backups. The taller Ags also out-rebounded Texas, 41-30.
Acie Law IV paced A&M with 21 points and 15 assists. The Horns were 24-of-55 (43 percent) from the field, including 7-of-19 from three-point range (36 percent). The Aggies shot 50 percent (33-of-66) from the floor and from outside the arc (11-of-22). Both teams attempted 37 foul shots, with Texas connecting on 27 (72 percent) and A&M hitting 23 (62 percent).
It was billed as the biggest hoops game in A&M history with a record 13,196 on hand a Reed Arena. Thousands of A&M students began camping out for tickets as early as last Wednesday before school officials dispersed the crowd and went with a computer-determined lottery system for ticket distribution.
A&M opened red-hot, draining 9-of-13 FG to take a 21-7 lead. Durant followed his traditional three-point play with a nothing-but-nylon swish from 10 feet beyond the arc as part of a 9-0 run, pulling the Horns within five.
The Aggies responded with consecutive treys against Texas' 3-2 zone, but the fouls quickly mounted for the home team. (Four A&M players were whistled for at least two fouls with 9:36 remaining until the break). With Durant on the bench, Josh Carter's trey spotted A&M a 30-20 advantage. Acie Law's three-ball rebuilt the Aggie 14-point lead, the seventh Aggie trey in nine attempts.
Texas switched to man defense and Abrams followed his trey with a lay-up to pull Texas within eight. The Aggies missed the front end of three straight one-and-ones while Texas stayed alive at the charity stripe. Augustin drained four straight FTs to make it 37-33 following a 14-3 Texas run with 3:03 left. The Aggies nursed a 45-40 lead at the break in a tempo that favored the Horns.
James lay-up, on the feed from Durant, made it 49-46 contest. But James quickly took a seat when he was whistled for his third. Durant's deep-three evened the score at 51 The Aggies answered with a 6-0 run before Durant shot the Horns back into it with a trey and a bank shot. Durant's jumper gave Texas its first lead, 58-57, with 14:04 remaining before Josh Carter responded with a trey over the Longhorn zone.
Law left the game with a left ankle injury with 10:14 remaining and A&M leading 69-63. He checked back in at the 7:29 mark with Texas trailing 76-71. Abrams knocked down a pair of freebies to make it a one-possession game. Dominique Kirk fouled out for the Ags with 6;49 remaining and A&M up 78-73. C Joseph Jones was whistled for his fifth just 32 seconds later. But Texas missed consecutive front ends of one-and-ones as Durant went more than five minutes without a FG attempt.
The Horns look to bounce back at home against Iowa State, 12:30 p.m., Saturday. The game will be televised regionally on ESPN+.