In a game where the Longhorns came in with all the momentum — riding high on a four-game win streak and improved play by Texas’ supporting cast — they hit a wall against an inspired Oklahoma State Cowboys team that handily beat them, 90-78.
Keiton Page torched the Longhorns for a career-high 40-point performance. He notched 27 first-half points and became only the sixth player in school history to reach the 40-point mark.
“He had a great game,” Texas’ J’Covan Brown said. “He was getting calls. He was physical and he went to the line 20 times. That’s unbelievable, but give him credit.”
Page toyed with the Texas defense, attempting and hitting improbable floaters, breaking defenders ankles, and nailing buzzer-beaters. He also benefited from an unusually high number of calls from the referees, going to the line 20 times and sank everything. He left the floor to a standing ovation from the home crowd.
“We gave him separation,” Texas head coach Rick Barnes said. “We fouled him in ways we should never foul, ways we haven’t in the past.”
Barnes even personally congratulated him afterward.
“He said he appreciated how I played and how hard I work,” Page said. “It means a lot coming from a coach like coach Barnes.”
Texas was called for 30 team fouls, and both Clint Chapman and Jonathan Holmes fouled out. Brown and Myck Kabongo continued their team-leading play, recording 20 and 22 points respectively. But they were also in early foul trouble which held them off the court.
“[Being in foul trouble early] changed the game in a big way,” Brown said. “We went smaller and they could start being aggressive.”
Sheldon McClellan provided a spark off the bench with 15 points, but aside from that, the Longhorns couldn’t find help from the rest of the role players. Alexis Wangmene played his “best game” as a Longhorn last Saturday according to Barnes, but he recorded numbers in only two statistical categories against the Cowboys. Wangmene had one rebound and four fouls.
After winning four games in a row, including a hard-earned comeback against Kansas State last week, Texas could have really used the momentum heading into a juggernaut against an angry No. 9 Baylor team that was just upset by those same Wildcats on Saturday in Waco.
Barnes thinks his squad was careless and overlooked the Cowboys, and that can’t happen today.
“We are going to have to play a whole lot harder, and play a whole lot harder mentally,” Barnes said. “Because I don’t want to take anything away from [Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford] and his team, but you know the losing coach always looks at what his team didn’t do, and there was a lot of things I wasn’t happy with today.”
His team will have to come out with much more focus and beat the top-10 ranked Bears to make that resume stand out.