Texas holds off Oklahoma for key road win
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.
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.
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.
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.
#15 Texas vs. #16 Oklahoma
The Texas Longhorns are back in action tonight in Norman, Oklahoma, less than 48 hours after defeating Iowa State in Ames on Tuesday night. The matchup at Lloyd Noble Center will showcase two Top-25 teams that are jockeying for position in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
The Sooners got the best of the Longhorns 80-79 in their first matchup of the regular season, but Shaka Smart's team has performed well on the road and look to win their second straight game.
Oklahoma has five wins over Top-15 teams this season and look to add another to their tournament resume with a win over the Longhorns.
The Longhorns have found themselves fighting for wins in close games, and fans should expect another close one tonight. Four of the last five games between Texas and Oklahoma have been decided by three or fewer points, including the last two meetings which were each decided by one point.
What: #15 Texas Longhorns (15-7, 9-6) vs. #16 Oklahoma Sooners (14-8, 9-7)
When: Thursday, March 4, 2021
Time: 8:00 PM
Venue: Lloyd Noble Center
Location: Norman, OK
Last meeting between these two teams: Oklahoma defeated Texas 80-79 (January 26, 2021 - Austin, TX)
All-time series record: Oklahoma leads Texas 57-41
Texas cruises past Iowa State, 81-67
The calendar has officially turned to March, meaning Texas basketball is entering the most important stretch of the season. Shaka Smart's team is safely in the NCAA tournament but is hoping to continue to boost their resume in the final week of the regular season before the Big 12 tournament kicks off next week. The Longhorns were able to start their week off on the a good note, cruising to a 81-67 win at Iowa State.
Despite the Cyclones 0-15 record in Big 12 play entering Tuesday's matchup, Iowa State had been showing signs of life over their previous few games. The Cyclones gave 2nd ranked Baylor all they could handle in Waco last week, nearly pulling off the upset in a 76-72 loss and followed it up with a near upset of TCU on Saturday. The Longhorns put the pressure on Iowa State early by going on a 17-0 run in the first half to take a 28-11 lead. The Cyclones battled back to trim the deficit to 10 points at the half, but were never able to go on a run during the second half to put the pressure on Texas.
Early foul trouble forced Texas to give Kai Jones significant minutes off the bench, and the freshman responded by leading the team with 17 points and adding 8 rebounds. The Longhorns also received a shot in the arm by Jase Febres, who connected on 3 of 4 three pointers and continues to round into form as he works his way back from a knee injury. Matt Coleman (12 points), Courtney Ramey (14 points) and Andrew Jones (9 points) turned in steady performances but struggled with taking care of the basketball, combining for 11 turnovers.
Iowa State was clearly outmatched, but the Longhorns had the opportunity to run away with the game much earlier if it wasn't for turnover issues and foul trouble. Jericho Sims got two quick fouls and ended up fouling out after playing only 10 minutes. Sims might be the best rebounder and interior defender the Longhorns have, and the drop-off is noticeable when he is not on the floor. The Longhorns will need him if they hope to make a deep tournament run.
Texas is currently sitting comfortably as a 4 seed with 2 regular season games remaining. A 2-0 finish would put Texas on the doorstep of a 3 seed if they were to perform well in the Big 12 tournament. A 1-1 finish combined with an early exit in the conference tournament would likely push Texas down to a 5 seed.
Texas will travel to Norman on Thursday to face Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated a short-handed Texas squad in Austin earlier this season and the Longhorns will look for an opportunity to add another quality win to their resume.
2022 Texas Football Recruiting Class