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Texas holds off Oklahoma for key road win

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As the second half hit the halfway point, it appeared Texas was in the midst of blowing another double digit halftime lead. The Longhorns were unable to generate much of anything offensively and Oklahoma had begun to find a rhythm on both ends of the floor. Instead of collapsing and suffering another painful loss, Texas responded in a big way to gut out a 69-65 win in Norman. The win is the Longhorns 3rd in their last 4 games and keeps them in position for a good seed with the NCAA tournament 2 weeks away. 

A strong shooting performance during the first half allowed the Longhorns to open up a big lead to start the evening. The Longhorns scored 44 of their 69 points during the first 20 minutes and received solid first half performances from Jase Febres and Andrew Jones to help set the tone. The Sooners struggled to put the ball in the basket and allowed Texas to carry a 10 point point lead into halftime. 

The second half was controlled by Oklahoma for the first 12 minutes. The Sooners came roaring back thanks to the outside shooting of Brady Manek and defensive presence of Kur Kuath. Manek finished the evening with 13 points and was 3 of 6 from three point range. After Oklahoma took a 54-53 lead with 7:56 remaining, Texas turned to veteran guard Courtney Ramey. The senior connected on back to back three pointers to put Texas back in front and also dished out two key assists to Jericho Sims in the closing minutes. Sims led the way for Texas with 16 points and 12 rebounds along with a strong performance on the defensive end of the floor. With the Longhorns leading 67-65 with 5 seconds, Greg Brown knocked down a pair of free throws to put the game away and give Texas the victory. 

Biggest Takeaway

Texas fans had to be holding their breath as the second half unfolded. A lot of the issues that have plagued Texas throughout the season hindered the Longhorns for an extended stretch, but the biggest takeaway was how Shaka Smart's team responded. Courtney Ramey and Jericho Sims are going to be leaned on heavily over the next few weeks, and both rose to the occasion down the stretch on Thursday night. Sims in particular was playing great basketball on both ends of the floor and had one of his best all-around performances of the season.

Big Picture

Texas is still likely looking at a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament. A win on Sunday and another victory in the Big 12 tournament could have the Longhorns in the conversation for a 3 seed.

What's Next?

Texas will close out the regular season on Sunday when they face TCU in Fort Worth. The Big 12 tournament will begin the 3 days later, but the Longhorns will not have to play until the quarterfinals on Thursday. 

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Those 2 FTs at the end by Brown were huge. Sims had a big game himself, which Texas needs.

In the 2nd half there was a stretch were the Texas guards looked like big men trying to handle the ball. Very sloppy ball handling. Need to clean that up.

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If Texas can get that kind of play from Jericho Sims more so than not, this team would be in great shape.  He dominated that game last night.

And @tejasrulz, you are spot-on about Greg Brown.  Those two free throws were game winners and it was refreshing to see Texas make those.  We have been too accustomed to seeing them go 1-1 or even miss both late in games. 

Great road win with one more left in the regular season.

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