Oklahoma’s top 25 magic ran out on Tuesday night.
Facing their third straight ranked foe, the Sooners couldn’t notch their fourth top 25 victory as Porter Moser’s squad fell to the No. 21 Texas Longhorns 66-52 in Austin.
The Longhorns entered the game with some extra fervor coming off a loss, and Chris Beard’s defense suffocated OU in the first half.
Scoring a season low 21 first half points, the Sooners struggled to find any kind of rhythm.
“You’ve got to credit Texas,” Moser said in a Zoom press conference after the game. “… Disappointed. Surprised because we’ve fought so many times against some teams. Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State played so hard defensively.
“So we’ve seen this. We just didn’t respond well today.”
Texas turned Oklahoma over nine times in the opening 20 minutes, building a 12-point halftime lead.
Though OU entered the night with the third best shooting percentage in the country, they had no such luck on Tuesday night.
The Longhorns held Oklahoma to 40 percent shooting from the floor, nearly 11 percentage points below OU’s season average.
The Sooner shooting struggles were compounded by early foul trouble, calling the OU bench into the fray much earlier than expected.
Forward Jalen Hill was sent to the bench after two quick fouls in the opening three minutes of the contest, and Tanner Groves, Umoja Gibson and Elijah Harkless all ended the first half with two personal fouls.
Still, Moser said Oklahoma’s issues stemmed much deeper than the fouls.
“I'll be honest with you, I can't blame the fouls,” Moser said. “That didn't change the dynamic. I thought Texas changed the dynamic. Just disappointed in how we responded to their pressure.
“… The fouls? I have to look elsewhere. It was our lack of getting into the offense. We have to get better.”
Things didn’t get any better for OU in the second half, either.
Texas went on a 6-0 run early in the second half, extending the lead to as many as 17 points before the first media timeout could come to the Sooners’ rescue.
Oklahoma tried to stage a late rally, cutting the lead to 11 points with five and a half minutes left, but it was ultimately too little too late for OU.
Eleven is as small as the lead would get, with Beard’s Longhorns closing the game out without any worries.
“We couldn’t get on a run,” Moser said. “I was in that huddle saying the same thing, ‘Hey, it’s 11, guys. It was 21 earlier, it was 17. It’s down to 11. Let’s get in single digits.’ Every timeout we’re trying to grind and we just couldn’t get over the hump, whether it was a missed free throw, shot or a turnover.
“Disappointed that we couldn’t get over that hump. And you’ve got to credit Texas.”
A big part of Texas’ dominant defensive display was their ability to eliminate OU’s leading scorer from the game. Groves didn’t register a shot attempt until there were just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, and the transfer star finished with just three points.
While Oklahoma lacked their interior threat, the deep shot didn’t fall for the Sooners either. OU finished shooting just 1-of-13 from 3-point range, the cherry on top of a dreadful shooting night all around.
“I think Texas sped us up,” Moser said. “You can tell by the turnovers that we had. We got rushed.”
Hill finished as the Sooners’ leading scorer with 12 points, and Jacob Groves was the only other OU player to get to double figures, adding 10 points.
The road trip will continue into the weekend for the Sooners, as they will head south of the Red River once again on Saturday to play the TCU Horned Frogs. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday, with the Sooners looking to pick up their first conference road win of the season from Ft. Worth. The contest between the Sooners and the Horned Frogs will be broadcast on ESPN2.
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