Iowa State fell to 13-11, 3-6 in league play, while No. 12 Texas raised its mark to 19-4, 6-2 in Big 12 action. It sets up Monday's showdown against No. 5 Kansas when Texas returns to the Erwin Center following a successful two-game road swing.
Texas' pressure defense had as much to do with forging the gritty, blue-collar comeback as did Abrams' three-point barrage. The Horns held ISU to 36.5 percent (27-of-63) from the field even as Texas connected on just 35.6 percent (25-of-70) of its attempts. Abrams' 25 points (8-of-14) led all scorers while Augustin has struggled from the field the past three contests. The sophomore finished with 17 points on 5-of-22 shooting but hit six clutch free throats.
Other than Abrams' lighting it up from outside, the bright spot for Texas continues to be F Gary Johnson's emergence. The freshman has given Texas some much-needed inside presence as of late, finishing with 15 points (5-of-12 FG) and, as important, 5-of-6 at the charity stripe.
Early on, it was the same ol' story line for a guard-oriented Texas team that runs into trouble against big, physical frontcourts. The Cyclones pushed this into OT essentially because they dominated the paint (26 points to Texas' 14) as well as second-chance points (22-to-8). However, Texas outrebounded ISU, 46-43.
Thanks to Abrams, Texas finished 8-of-22 (36.4 percent) from outside the arc but almost needed a Guest Pass to visit the free throw line for most of the game. The Horns eventually hit 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) of their foul shots.
Texas took an early 6-0 lead but would misfire on 10 of its first 15 attempts, including 0-for-5 from three-point range. We were tied at 14 with 10:22 remaining until intermission when coach Rick Barnes substituted liberally in his front court, switching to a 2-3 zone. The Cyclones sank a pair of treys to take their first lead before Abrams drained a three-ball to knot things at 20-apiece. Seven Longhorn turnovers during the first period helped the home team take a 31-27 lead into the locker room.
The Cyclones opened the second period with a 7-0 run, as part of 11 unanswered points, to jump to double-digit lead, 38-27. Atchley's eight-footer took the lid off the bucket but he quickly went to the bench with a bloodied face. Alexis Wangmene was whistled for his fourth personal with 16:14 remaining as a pair of Jiri Hubalek FTs pushed the Cyclone lead to 42-29.
With Augustin struggling from the field, Abrams followed his deep jumper with a trey to pull Texas within 42-34. Damion James could not convert his steal into a dunk when the ball literally hit the bottom of the net but then rimmed out. James would later get his dunk on the feed form Gary Johnson to make it a single-digit deficit, 48-39.
Johnson's lay-up made it a two-possession game, 50-44, with just under 8:30 left, but Sean Haluska's uncontested trey kept the Texas comeback on hold. Abrams followed Johnson's baseline jumper with another try to pull Texas within 53-49. A sloppy inbounds pass led to a Rahshon Clark theft and dunk.
The Horns couldn't buy a free throw in the first 25 minutes but then sank six straight foul shots to tie the game at 55 with 4:21 left. Augustin's soft floater in the lane spotted Texas its first lead since the 10:51 mark of the first half, 60-58. But we were tied at 62 with 36.2 ticks left. The Horns had the last shot but Abrams'. This one was headed to OT.
Johnson scored the first bucket of the extra but not until two minutes had eclipsed from the game clock. Augustin's bucket gave Texas a two-possession lead with 47 seconds left. He would add a pair of foul shots 27 seconds later ISU would hit a late three-pointer to cap the scoring.
Texas' tilt with Kansas is set for an 8 p.m. (CST) tip and will be televised nationally on ESPN.