The No. 25 Longhorns beat No. 3 Oklahoma, 76-63, at home on Saturday. Here are five thoughts from the victory:
Longhorns close strong: Texas spent Saturday afternoon just hanging around. The Longhorns stayed within striking distance, but never really found a spark to push them over the edge. But with Oklahoma up 58-51, Texas went nuts. The Longhorns scored 22 unanswered points in a nearly seven-minute stretch and ended the game on a 22-5 run. Players on both sides had no idea the Longhorns were even on a 22-0 run. The sold-out Frank Erwin Center crowd went bonkers with every play Texas made, and there was no question which side the momentum was on.
“I didn’t know that,” junior guard Isaiah Taylor said, when asked if he knew how big the run was. “It felt good. We were getting stops, making free throws, everybody was excited. You could kind of sense that feeling from the crowd.”
Hield slows down in the second half: Oklahoma senior guard Buddy Hield did it all in the first half. The favorite for Player of the Year had 23 points in the first half and Texas had no answer. But Hield looked human in the second half. He had 10 in the final period and couldn’t lift Oklahoma's stagnant offense when Texas went on its run. The Longhorns threw a few defenders at Hield, but freshman guard Kerwin Roach Jr. appeared to have the most success because of his athleticism.
“I really liked the look in [Roach’s] eye,” Smart said. “He had a determination that he was going to do everything he can, and I thought that was a big factor for us.”
Balanced Longhorns: It was the Hield show for Oklahoma, but Texas remained in the game thanks to a balanced scoring attack. Five Longhorns scored in double figures, led by Taylor’s 18 points. The senior duo of guard Javan Felix and forward Connor Lammert ended with 14 apiece. Hield had 33 for Oklahoma, but the only other Sooner that ended in double figures was guard Jordan Woodard with 15. In the end, it was the effort of multiple Longhorns that got it done for Texas.
Crowd gets into it: The sold-out Frank Erwin Center crowd was the loudest it has been this season. During Texas’ run to end the game, the crowd noise literally had the arena shaking. It proved to be a huge factor in Texas winning the game.
“The fans, the crowd, they did a great job today,” Taylor said. “They gave us a lot of energy, especially down the stretch.”
Big late-season win: This was a huge win for Texas after losing three of its past five games and nearly losing to Kansas State earlier this week. The Longhorns still have to play No. 2 Kansas on Monday, but the way Texas won this game gives them plenty of momentum going into the final two games of the regular season and the postseason.