In a rivalry, two teams must not only have extreme animosity of each other, but also the perpetual will to win, no matter the score, or how far into the game. After the matchup between Oklahoma and Texas in Austin Wednesday, one can certainly say that is true of the Longhorns.
Romero Osby scored a career high 31 points and also had five rebounds for the Sooners, but it was to no avail. Texas, down by 22 with 7:38 to play, was determined. The Longhorns then went on an improbable 32-10 run to end the half and force overtime.
It almost appeared the Sooners would escape. With Oklahoma up 77-75, Texas had one last shot at the tie. Kabongo was hounded all the way up the court and was forced to heave a fall away with Sooner hands in his face that left him on the ground. Yet, almost as improbably as the Texas victory, he made it. With that, the buzzer sounded, and the Sooners, now lifeless and dejected, prepared for overtime.
Oklahoma was just not the same energetic team in the extra period. With the momentum and the crowd now behind them, Texas outscored Oklahoma 15-9, going on to pull off the shocking comeback, 92-86. Kabongo was an instrumental factor in the Longhorn comeback, matching Osby’s 31, 28 of which came in the second half and overtime.
Steven Pledger and Amath M’Baye has solid performances for the Sooners in the loss, scoring 18 and 16 respectively. Pledger, who scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half, was 6-12 from three, in addition to dishing out three assists.
No other Sooners scored in double digits, and Sam Grooms cooled off considerably from his prior three games, scoring only 3 points in 31 minutes and missing all four of his attempted field goals. Grooms did, however, lead the team in assists with six.
For about the first ten minutes of the first half, the game was fairly even. With 10:18 to play, Texas led 16-14, but the lead wouldn’t last for long. The Sooners went on a 17-0 run between then and the 6:47 mark, to stake claim to a 15 point advantage. Pledger nailed three of his six three pointers during the run. Oklahoma would head into halftime with a 43-28 lead.
Turnovers played a major part in the outcome of the game. Oklahoma committed 16, including a few critical ones down the stretch, to ultimately provide the Longhorns the window through which they would climb back into the game. The Sooner offense, for lack of a better word, was terrible for the last 15 or so minutes.
Oklahoma (18-9, 9-6) will look to bounce back Saturday as they return home to take on the Iowa State Cyclones. There was already motivation for the Sooners in this game, who were blasted 83-64 in the first meeting between the two teams in Ames. Now, with the crushing loss to Texas, there will be extra incentive for the Sooners to win. Tip-off is set for 12:30 PM CST.
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