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Looking back at the top five Texas men’s basketball games in Erwin Center history

Brian Davis
Austin American-Statesman

Here’s a look at the top five Texas men’s basketball games at the Erwin Center:

Feb. 28, 2007: No. 15 Texas defeats No. 7 Texas A&M 98-96 (2OT)

Texas A&M’s Acie Law IV lifted the Aggies to an incredible 2006-07 season and helped beat Texas 100-82 in College Station. But Texas’ Kevin Durant had one more shot. The rematch in Austin had incredible buildup. 

“It had amazing atmosphere,” ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla recalled last week. “The supporting casts, as I remember, were pretty good. But the main characters were sensational. It could go down honestly as one of the best Big 12 games ever.”

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Durant had 30 points and 16 rebounds, and Law hit two massive shots to force both overtimes. The A&M star finished with 33 points but had to miss the second of two free throws at the end to give his team a chance.

“I don’t think Kobe and LeBron could have done any better,” Fraschilla said.

Texas' Damion James, center, celebrates with fans after the Longhorns' wild 98-96 double-overtime win over Texas A&M at the Erwin Center on Feb. 28, 2007. It remains one of the most memorable games ever played at the venerable building.

Feb. 4, 1990: No. 3 Arkansas defeats Texas 103-96 (OT)

Texas had suffered a nine-point loss at Arkansas about two weeks before. The rematch was the Razorbacks’ chance to take control of the Southwest Conference standings. 

Things went haywire with 14 seconds left as UT’s Lance Blanks was fouled going to the basket. Replays showed that Arkansas’ Lee Mayberry grabbed Blanks around the waist and officials called an intentional foul.

Blanks would get two free throws, and Texas would keep the ball. Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson was so outraged, he grabbed his sport coat and left the arena floor, walking right past UT coach Tom Penders. The Hogs then tied it up and forced overtime. “Strollin’ Nolan,” as he would be nicknamed, returned to the bench as Texas fans went berserk.

To this day, Penders is still miffed that Richardson was not called for a technical foul. 

Feb. 10, 2003: No. 6 Texas defeats No. 5 Oklahoma 67-61

Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson had run up an eight-game winning streak over Texas' Rick Barnes. “I said from the beginning of the year, this is 2003; it’s a new start,” UT’s Royal Ivey said. He scored 14 points and hit a critical 3-pointer to give the Horns a four-point lead with two minutes left.

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OU star Hollis Price had 23 points for the Sooners, who fell out of first place in the Big 12 standings. UT’s James Thomas had 11 points and 16 rebounds, and Jason Klotz scored eight. Fans stormed the court in what became a huge breakthrough moment. Texas would go on to reach the Final Four that season.

“This is a great win,” Ivey said.

Dec. 12, 2015: Texas defeats No. 3 North Carolina 84-82

First-year coach Shaka Smart had already taken his team to China to open the season against Washington. Then UT packed up and had to go play rival Texas A&M in the Bahamas. Smart hadn’t really gotten a chance to feel Erwin Center electricity at all yet. Then came the Tar Heels. 

Isaiah Taylor’s 3-point attempt in the final seconds bounced wide off the rim. Javan Felix was in the right place at the right time and buried a buzzer-beating jumper to jump-start the Smart era.

“Felix was a really, really big-time player for ’em," said North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who fell to 1-6 against the Horns in 13 seasons with the Tar Heels. “Great moment for him.”

Texas senior Javan Felix, center, celebrates with coach Shaka Smart after Felix hit the winning shot to beat No. 3 North Carolina at the Erwin Center on Dec. 12, 2015.

Dec. 14, 1996: No. 13 Texas defeats No. 16 Fresno State 98-86

Manor physical therapist Susan Grimshaw probably doesn’t remember her pivotal role in Texas basketball history. She helped UT’s Reggie Freeman with a wrist injury and DeJuan “Chico” Vazquez with his injured groin.

Freeman, Vazquez and Kris Clack simply went wild against Fresno State. Freeman had a career-high 43 points with his left shooting wrist unwrapped. “That guy can’t play like that very often, can he?” legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian said.

Said Freeman: “She cured me.”

Clack brought down the house with back-to-back plays that sparked a second-half run — one thunderous dunk and a twisting, backward hook shot. Clack finished with 17 points, and Vazquez made several key plays down the stretch.

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email or @BDavisAAS.