When Amath M'Baye took the alley-oop pass from Sam Grooms and slammed it home with 7:54 remaining in the game, it seemed as though Oklahoma's 67-45 lead over Texas would be perfectly safe. To top it off, M'Baye coyly flashed a double "Horns Down" to the OU bench.
In the end, however, it would be the Longhorns who got the last laugh, stunning the Sooners with a furious comeback to force overtime before finishing off a bewildered Oklahoma team, 92-86 in Austin Wednesday night.
Texas point guard Myck Kabongo hit a wild fadeaway at the regulation buzzer to force overtime, completing the Longhorns' improbable comeback. Kabongo finished the game with a career-high 31 points, 24 of those coming during the Texas comeback and overtime.
While the loss isn't completely devastating for the Sooners, it's easily the worst loss of the year and the way it happened made it that much worse. However, more losses could send the Sooners sliding right back on to the NCAA tournament bubble with just a few games to play, somewhere the Sooners definitely do not want to be.
Sheldon McClellan added 18 points for the Longhorns off the bench, while Demarcus Holland scored 10 points.
Romero Osby scored a career-high 31 points to lead OU, while Steven Pledger hit six 3-pointers for 18 points. M'B aye chipped in 16 points.
In order to overcome the huge deficit, the Longhorns employed a full-court press, something the Sooners have struggled with all season long. Texas had 13 steals for the game, five coming during an initial 15-2 run that cut the Sooners' lead to 69-60.
After a bad first half performance offensively, the Longhorns couldn't miss late in the second half while the Sooners went ice cold after a sizzling first half in which the Sooners shot 71 percent from the field.
After M'Baye's dunk, Oklahoma went 1-for-10 from the field in the final eight minutes of regulation.
A 3-pointer from McClellan made the score 72-71 with 1:11 remaining. The teams exchanged free throws and after Sam Grooms hit a pair with 16.5 seconds left, the Sooners had a 76-72 lead. However, on the ensuing Texas possession, Steven Pledger fouled McClellan while he was shooting a 3-pointer. After McClellan made all three, Osby hit 1-of-2 for OU, setting the stage for Kabongo's heroic shot.
In overtime, OU grabbed an 81-80 lead on a nifty baseline spin move and finish from Osby. It would be the last lead the Sooners would have.
Trailing 85-81, M'Baye buried a 3-pointer from right in front of the OU bench to cut the lead to one. However, Texas' Ioannis Papapetrous nailed a 3 on the next Texas possession to put the game away with 49 seconds remaining.
The second half collapse overshadowed the Sooners' splendid play in the first 32 minutes of the game. Trailing 16-14, OU went on a 17-0 run, keyed by three 3-pointers from Pledger, to grab a 31-16 lead with 6:47 remaining in the half. OU continued to pour it on, maintaining a big lead throughout the rest of the half as they executed their offense effectively, seemingly scoring at will against a Texas defense that came into the game one of the best in the nation.
In the second half, OU continued its strong play before Texas employed the full-court press for the first time, resulting in an 11-5 run that cut a 17-point OU lead to 50-39 in favor of the Sooners. However, OU responded with a 17-6 run, built around several tough defensive possessions, to grab a 67-45 lead on M'Baye's fateful slam.
The Sooners return home on Saturday to take on Iowa State who is coming off their own crushing defeat. A career night from Kansas guard Elijah Johnson and questionable officiating stole a huge win over the Jayhawks right out of the Cyclones' hands Monday night, so Iowa State will be looking to bounce back in a big way as well.
Oklahoma can't allow Wednesday's collapse to turn into another loss against Iowa State Saturday afternoon in Norman. One loss in that manner is quite enough.