Despite a hard fought first half effort, No. 3 Oklahoma suffered a complete meltdown throughout the final stretch of the game and fell on the road to Texas 76-63.
OU’s Buddy Hield drained a beautiful stop and pop jumper just past the free throw line with 7:33 left in the game to put the Sooners up comfortably at 58-51, but things suddenly went south for the Sooners from that point on.
Led by the ferocity of Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix, Texas closed the game out on a 25-to-5 run and held OU scoreless for almost seven entire minutes as they completely exposed the Sooners offense in front of a ruckus Frank Erwin Center crowd.
The ending proved to be the defining stretch of the game, but it was somewhat unexpected after how things went down in the first half.
Hield was magnificent early on in Austin, and really set the tone for how the OU offense would operate throughout the first 20 minutes. The Player of the Year candidate broke the seal from behind the arc with 14:55 left in the first half, and once he saw the ball tickle the twine, it meant trouble for the UT defenders.
The floodgates began to open for Hield after the senior drained back-to-back 3-pointers from the top of the arc, and it was officially time to strap in and watch Buddy get buckets.
UT was putting up more than a fight, but Hield wasn’t done dazzling in the first half. After converting seven shots in a row, Hield finally came up short on a running attempt in the lane but was able to rebound his own miss and put it back in the basket while getting fouled to put OU up 38-33. Hield’s aggression didn’t waver as he ran right down the floor to defend UT’s Javan Felix, and broke down in front of the point guard before blocking his shot and yelling in excitement towards the sold out Texas crowd.
As the clock ticked down before intermission, Hield put an exclamation mark on his superb half. After a Jordan Woodard miss from downtown, Hield decided opted to play full court defense instead of running back, and pestered Texas big man Prince Ibeh into coughing up the ball and fouling Hield in the process, which sent the Bahamian superstar to the line where he recorded point No. 22 and 23 of the half.
The Sooners took a three-point lead into halftime.
OU held cushioned lead through most of the second half, and led throughout the entire opening 15:32 of the second half.
Texas really began to buckle down on the defensive end and really made the OU guards work for everything in the second half.
The suffocating UT defense ignited the late Texas run, and Taylor put the Longhorns up 59-58 with a pair of free throws with 4:28 left in the game. On the next possession, Ibeh tipped in a miss to put Texas up three points, and the Longhorns never looked back as the next OU points came with 35 seconds left while the game was already out of reach.
Hield finished with 33 points while Woodard added 15 of his own. Isaiah Cousins totaled nine points, but they all came in the first half.
Part of the Sooners’ struggles can be credited to the lack of production out of both Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin. Neither player had much of an impact, similarly to the Sooners’ loss to Texas Tech back on February 17.
Taylor led the Longhorns in scoring with 18 while Felix and Connor Lammert each totaled 14 apiece. The Longhorns’ bench outscored OU’s bench 26-to-4 in the win.
OU will be back in action on Tuesday when they host a very good Baylor team.