HOUSTON — Texas sophomore point guard D.J. Augustin showed Friday why he's one of the nation's most complete players.
Not only can the guy shoot — and he did plenty of that against Stanford — but he can defend. Heck, it was his dazzling steal and fastbreak layup that fueled a decisive 20-3 second-half run in the Longhorns' 82-62 victory in the South Region semifinals at Reliant Stadium. It was Stanford's worst loss of the year.
The No. 2 seed Longhorns (31-6), who set a school record for wins in a season, advanced to the Elite Eight for the second time in three years.
"Our defense was key," Augustin said. "We just tried to be aggressive and pick them up and put pressure on them."
The No. 3 seed Cardinal (28-8), which had trailed by as many as 12 in the first half and by nine at the break, had rallied behind 7-foot sophomore forward Brook Lopez to cut the deficit to 52-51 with 12:54 left.
That's when Augustin and his teammates got after the Cardinal, not allowing Lopez to catch the ball as deep in the block and when he did catch it, help out on him. Lopez missed his next four shots and had only two free throws the rest of the way, finishing with a game-high 26 points.
"I think they just started playing aggressively … (and) I started throwing up poor percentage shots that I don't normally make," said Lopez, who pounded the floor before he left the court.
Up 56-51, Augustin beat Stanford guard Mitch Johnson to an errant pass near midcourt and raced in for a layup that had his coach, Rick Barnes, uncharacteristically pumping his fist.
"When your players make the effort and come up with it and it pays big dividends, yeah, we all got excited," he said. "At that point in time, we needed a play like that."
"They made a series of runs, and I thought we responded, and then I thought we got caught up in the emotion of the game there when it was 52-51, and next thing I know, I turn around and it was 58-51," added Stanford coach Trent Johnson.
Turns out, Augustin made a few more stellar plays, scoring six of his team-high 23 in the next few minutes as Texas' lead reached 72-54 with 3:44 left.
"D.J. is terrific," Barnes said. "All year long, he's a guy that when we give it to him, we know he's going to make something happen."