Big second half from Roach leads Texas past Oklahoma State
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Texas needed someone to step up and take control in the second half Friday night, and Kerwin Roach Jr. answered the call.
Roach scored 15 points, all in the second half, and added six rebounds, as No. 23 Texas closed the game on a 16-2 run to defeat Oklahoma State 62-50 in the regular season finale for both.
''He did what he's been getting better and better at doing all season long,'' said Longhorns coach Shaka Smart. ''He hit a couple of really big outside shots and he's been really good at slashing and making plays and he finished them off. That was huge for us because we had some guys who didn't particularly have their best offensive games.''
Isaiah Taylor added 12 points for Texas (20-11, 11-7 Big 12), which reached the 20-win plateau for the 16th time in the last 17 seasons.
For Roach, who scored nine points in the final five minutes and the Longhorns' final seven of the game, it was just a case of riding a wave of confidence.
''All I know is that I had my team behind me,'' said Roach, who averaged 9.8 points over his previous 11 outings. ''My team was cheering me on and it made me keep going. Coach Smart kept saying keep attacking, so it gave me a lot of confidence.''
Leyton Hammonds, returning to the lineup after missing a game with a dislocated finger, scored 20 points and added six rebounds to lead Oklahoma State (12-19, 3-15), which lost its sixth straight and ninth in its last 10.
''We're just struggling offensively,'' said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. ''Our defense is keeping us in the game, we're just challenged offensively to have a guy that can make that play for you, whether it be creating for someone else or whether it be knocking down that shot.''
After the teams entered the second half tied at 29, neither squad was able to build more than a three-point lead through the first 15 minutes.
Hammonds' long jump shot put the Cowboys ahead 48-46 with 7:44 remaining, but Roach capped off a 6-0 Texas run with a layup to put the Longhorns on top, 52-48, with 4:32 remaining.
Chris Olivier answered for Oklahoma State with 4:11 to go to pull to within 52-50, but that would be the last points for OSU, which made just 5 of 12 free throws in the second half.
Roach sealed the game when he connected on a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 1:40 left to make it 60-50.
Texas: Texas entered the day leading the Big 12 in fewest turnovers per game, averaging 9.8 in conference play, and they committed six on the night, including just one in the first half.
Oklahoma State: It was Senior Night for the Cowboys, and Ford started all five seniors on the active roster, including little-used forward Codey McElroy and guard Ford Stuen, who had each made just three appearances for a grand total of nine combined minutes. Also starting were usual reserves Chris Olivier and Anthony Allen. The quartet played the first 2:19 before coming out, with Oklahoma State trailing 5-2, for the usual starters. Neither McElroy nor Stuen saw the court again.
Oklahoma State had won six of the previous eight meetings between the teams, including each of the previous four in Stillwater. . With his 12 points, Texas guard Isaiah Taylor reached double figures for the 24th time this season in 31 games. . After amassing 22 total rebounds over his last two games, Longhorn center Prince Ibeh recorded just three in this one. . Oklahoma State entered the day ranked third in the Big 12 with a 73.7 percent free throw shooting percentage, but shot 13-for-22 (59.1 percent) from the stripe in this one, including just 5 for 12 in the second half.
''When you're going through what we're going through, usually it's the defense that goes. It shows you the fight, it shows you the competitiveness, it shows you that these guys, every game, they're sticking to the game plan and they're doing everything they can. We're just challenged offensively,'' said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford on his struggling team.
Texas: Big 12 quarterfinals Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri.
Oklahoma State: Kansas State in the first round of the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday in Kansas City.