There will be a lot said about Texas missing players in their 80-79 upset loss to Oklahoma but there also needs to be a lot said about how quickly this Sooner basketball squad is rising. Just days removed from upsetting #9 Kansas in Norman, OU took to the road and downed the 5th-ranked Longhorns behind enemy lines.
It was said repeatedly that Texas was down to just eight players but the reality of the situation is that Lon Kruger only went nine deep with his squad and one of those was Brady Manek who continued slumping with just one point on an 0-5 shooting performance.
This game came down to coaching, where the Sooners had a clear advantage, aggressiveness, and speed. All of those worked in Oklahoma’s favor resulting in an extremely frustrated, confused, and ultimately losing Texas squad.
Game Defining Moment
The game changed in Oklahoma’s favor near the midway point of the first half. Trailing 6-14 with 12:39 remaining until the break, the Sooners closed out on a 37-20 run and take the momentum into the locker room.
Mo Gibson scored 5 points during that stretch, De’Vion Harmon had 6 and Austin Reaves produced 9 points to close out the half.
Typically when you make shots like this it means you’re having a good night.
The Frustration Of Fouls
Depending on which bench you were cheering for, there’s two different stories her. Texas fans are going to say that the officials called a terrible game but the Oklahoma fans are going to talk about the genius of Lon Kruger turning the Texas pressure against them.
Being short-handed and without their coach was already going to be an excuse for the Longhorns regardless of how this game turned out. However, when you’re the hottest team in the conference and playing your rival on your home court you’ve got to win regardless of who is or isn’t suited up. That was the Longhorn mindset and Oklahoma used quickness, physicality, and dribble penetration to amp up the pressure. The result was 34 free throw attempts for the Sooners coming from 29 fouls called against Texas.
Greg Brown, Royce Hamm Jr., and Matt Coleman all fouled out for Texas but Coleman’s fifth foul may have been the most crucial. The Longhorns had cut it to a one-point game off a Coleman layup. Trailing 78-77, Coleman then got a little sloppy and was whistled for foul number five while reaching in on Austin Reaves during a defensive switch. Colemen went to the bench dejected and frustrated and Reaves went to the free throw line and sank both attempts to extend the Sooner lead back to three at 80-77.
Oklahoma was whistled for 20 fouls on the night but Texas only attempted 19 free throws.
Five Longhorn players scored in double figures against Oklahoma but Kai Jones paced them all with 15 points. The sophomore forward was 5-of-11 from the floor and pulled in 10 rebounds to produce a double-double on the night.
We really are seeing this Oklahoma team gel and get better each time they take the floor. It isn’t just a one-man show on any given night. There are major contributors each time out now as guys are finding, and thriving, in their respective roles.
Elijah Harkless scored 11 points on the night and De’Vion Harmon remained hot with a 13 point outing. Mo Gibson came off the bench to score 12 points in maintaining his role as a key contributor in the second unit. However, it was Austin Reaves who had the most productive night for the Sooners in Austin. The senior guard was 7-of-15 from the floor, producing a game-high 23 points, while also pulling down six rebounds and dishing out four assists.
Oklahoma steps out of conference play on Saturday to host Alabama. That game is set for a 12:00 PM tip.
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