A 12-point win for Kevin Durant and the Texas basketball program over Texas Tech in 2007 was one of his craziest nights in college.
A little more than 13 years ago on the dot, the Texas basketball program took on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a game during the Big 12 slate that would have a big impact on the turnout of the season. And that game early in the Big 12 slate on Jan. 31, 2007, against Texas Tech saw Texas come in with a record of 15-5. Meanwhile, Texas Tech was well in the hunt for a key win to bolster their NCAA Tournament resume carrying a record of 15-6.
Entering this game on the final day of January 2007, the Texas Longhorns basketball program held the No. 22 ranking in the AP Poll. Ironic that the rival Texas A&M Aggies were ranked 10th in the country in this same week. Texas A&M was led by center Josh Carter and guard Acie Law to nab that No. 10 ranking at this point in the season.
Texas was backed by two star players that would only get them as far as the Round of 32 in the “Big Dance”. That included forward Kevin Durant and point guard D.J. Augustin. The former was the main offensive threat that would give Texas Tech so much trouble on Jan. 31, 2007.
KD would play all 40 minutes on the floor against Texas Tech, amassing maybe the best single game of his one college season. He shot 15-of-29 from the field and 5-of-9 from three-point land. Although he didn’t shoot well from inside the arc, and he was a rather poor 2-of-5 from the charity stripe, but the Red Raiders couldn’t stop him on a consistent basis anyway.
To add to that mark, KD registered 37 points, 23 rebounds, one assist, three steals, and one block. He did all that while only amassing two personal fouls and three turnovers. KD was the player who helped Augustin have a solid double-double in his stat line on this night too.
Augustin would get 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and 11 assists. The assist rate for Augustin would amount to an insane 48 percent on the night.
The advanced stat line for KD was really good too. He would post a solid offensive rating of 119 and defensive rating of 70. His 59.3 true shooting percentage, 29.5 percent rebounding rate, 4.6 percent steal rate, and 2.7 percent block rate all showed how impressive he was in this game.
This would also be one of the highest usage rates that KD would have in his college or professional career. He registered a usage rate higher than 45 percent. No one else had a usage rate higher than 32 percent in this game.
Moreover, the player that did his best to counter the Longhorns on the Texas Tech side was the senior 6-foot-1 guard and three-time All-Big 12 selection Jarrius Jackson. He posted 27 points, three rebounds, one assist, and two steals. Jackson actually did manage a better offensive rating (123) than KD. But his defensive rating of 118 was much higher than KD.
The only Red Raider that got a double-double in this game was then junior 6-foot-5 guard Martin Zeno. He posted 13 points and 11 rebounds while shooting just 4-of-17 from the field. That poor shooting percentage for Zeno was largely due to a strong Longhorns defensive effort.
What might have made this performance more special than anything was how good he was in the second half. KD scored 24 of his 37 points in the second half, including 11 points in the final five minutes of the game.
Texas would claim this victory by the final score of 76-64. If not for the Longhorns lack of free-throw attempts in this game, this victory would’ve been less marginal. Texas got to the charity stripe .066 free-throws per field goal attempt. Meanwhile, Texas Tech had almost four times as many free-throws per field goal attempt (.197).
This game was also a key indicator that KD was a true volume scorer that would use that skill set to become a superstar in the NBA. There were three games where he registered at least 29 field goal attempts, and he scored 37 points on each occasion.
Throughout his collegiate career, KD didn’t ever post more than 37 points in a single game. But he did have 37 points in three other games, two of which Texas lost. He also had a double-double with points and rebounds in all four of those games. But the win over Texas Tech was the only one where he had more than 20 boards.
Aside from his 37 point night in a Big 12 Tournament loss to the top seeded Kansas Jayhawks, this was the most notable performance down the stretch for KD in his sole season with the Longhorns. It was these types of nights that proved that KD was worth the No. 2 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics.
KD would then spend most of his NBA career to date with the SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder. Most of his team accolades would come with the Golden State Warriors, including two NBA Championships and two Finals MVP’s.