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NCAAM Basketball – 1979 – NBC Game of Week – Texas Longhorns VS USC Trojans – 1st Half


With its four leading scorers returning, Texas entered the 1978–79 season with a No. 6 ranking in the AP poll….as they were a near-unanimous favorite to win the SWC championship….but the Longhorns struggled early after beginning the season 7–4 and falling out of the AP rankings after a 21-point road defeat to C Bill Cartwright and the San Francisco Dons…..then after another blowout road loss to Texas Tech…Abe’s Boys regrouped to win three straight road games….along with 12 of its next 13 games…which included a three-point upset of the 10th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville….a 23-point blowout of Shelby Metcalf’s No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies in Austin….and an eight-point win over the 11th-ranked Aggies three weeks later in College Station.  

During the preceding thirty seasons….Texas had only managed a total of six wins against AP-ranked opponents….and never more than one such victory in a single year.   A home loss to 14th-ranked Arkansas was the lone blemish during the 13-game stretc….in a game that featured a shouting and shoving episode, famous in SWC lore, between Coach Lemons and Coach Eddie Sutton after Sutton had admonished Texas player Johnny Moore on the court….which resulted in police and assistant coaches intervening….but Lemons told the media following the game that if Sutton dared to address his players again….he would “tear his Sunday clothes and liquidate his ass.”.  When struggling SMU dealt Texas a shocking defeat in the final game of the regular season….the Horns were deprived of sole possession of the SWC crown and forcing them to share the conference championship with Arkansas for the second straight season.   

Following a 39–38 loss to the ninth-ranked Razorbacks in the SWC Tournament Final….Texas received a No. 4 seed and a bye to the second round in the 1979 NCAA Tournament….but Texas fell to No. 5-seeded Oklahoma in the tournament to finish the season with a 21–8 overall record….along with a # 15 final ranking in the UPI Coaches’ Poll. The Longhorns drew an average of 15,886 fans per home game in 1978–79, a school and Erwin Center record that to this point has not been challenged.  

In this NBC Game of the Week between Texas vs. USC….were two legendary broadcasters in Jim Simpson and Al Maguire (of Marquette University head coaching fame)…..as they called this game feauring the Horns from Austin with a starting five featuring G Johnny Moore, G Jim Krivacs, F Ron Baxter, F Tyronne Branyon and C Phillip Stroud….for this was a very talented team….which was coached by another legend of the harwoods in A. E. “Abe” Lemons….for this video also features a wonderful interview between two college coaching legends in Al Maguire and Abe…..which makes this video well worth watching.

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