Texas Rolling, But What About Augustin?

The Longhorns have reeled off four straight wins in Big 12 play and are in the thick of the chase for the conference crown. But what about sophomore point guard D.J. Augustin? Despite the Horns' recent success, Texas' leading scorer is struggling to get his shots to fall.

Before the start of the 2007-2008 college basketball season, Texas players made it known that they were going to look to sophomore point guard D.J. Augustin for leadership and for scoring. The leadership has always remained, but in recent weeks the scoring, most notably from the field, has not.

Texas (20-4, 7-2 Big 12) is on a four game winning streak, but over that span the Horns' floor general has faded as of late, culminating in a 1-for-13 shooting night against Kansas. Texas still won the game, but, just as has been the case in each of the last four, Augustin couldn't barely buy a bucket.

"My shot's not falling," Augustin told Inside Texas. "I'm going through a tough time right now with my shots, but I'm still doing the same things, looking for my teammates."

And his teammates appreciate his passing abilities, most notably A.J. Abrams. The junior guard has stepped up to take the scoring load from Augustin, putting up 25 against Iowa State, 22 against Oklahoma and 20 against Baylor. Ironically, it was Abrams who was mired in a shooting slump, struggling to get his shots to go in, earlier in conference play.

"I just got over mine. I guess I gave it to him," joked Abrams. "You just got to remain confident. If you're missing shots in a couple games, you can't let it affect you. There are a lot of things you can do to affect the game in a positive way. If he focuses on that, his shots will start falling again."

The Longhorns need Augustin's shots to start falling again. With Kansas (8-2 in Big 12 play), Texas (7-2) and Kansas State (7-2) all bunched at the top of the conference and the Aggies of Texas A&M (6-3) roaring back with a five-game win streak, the remaining conference games are becoming more and more important.

The main area where Augustin has not struggled is the free throw line, hitting 25-of-29 from the charity stripe during the four-game win streak. He's shot 23 percent from the field in that time and almost half of his points (25 out of 55 points) have come from the free throw line.

Augustin told IT that, due to his success earlier in the season, he's noticed a change in the way teams defend him and that it might be contributing to the lower shooting percentage.

"It's harder for me to get into the lane," said Augustin. "Once I get past the defender, there's help defense, the big guys are coming to contest my shots more. Big 12, that's when they scout you really good and they're playing great defense."

With defenses focusing on the Longhorns' point guard, Abrams told IT that the responsibility is on the rest of the team to take advantage of the situation.

"He just has a tougher time because he brings the ball down the floor. All eyes are on him. (Other players) knocking down a couple shots ought to shift the focus and lessen the pressure on him," said Abrams.

Regardless of the shooting issues, Augustin said he's not going to let it affect him.

"I'm just going to keep playing my game, keep playing defense and keep taking my shots," said Augustin.

Abrams wholeheartedly agrees.

"He's going to have to (stay confident), because I'm going to tell him to keep shooting the ball," said Abrams.

Texas travels to Baylor to take on the Bears in Waco at 5 p.m. on Saturday before returning home to host No. 16 Texas A&M for a Big Monday match-up at 8 p.m.

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