In the Big 12, anyone needs a boost while hoping to bolster their resume for the conference tournament. It's also nice to own the season sweep against your rival.
Texas did both on Thursday against Oklahoma.
The No. 15 Longhorns traveled up the I-35 route Lloyd Noble Center to take on the No. 16 Sooners. Behind the success of Jericho Sims, Texas picked up the 69-65 win.
"This is one of his most complete games he's played," Texas coach Shaka Smart said of Sims. "The guys did a good job finding him. To get him 10 shot attempts is a big deal."
Sims led the charge for the night on both sides of the ball. He finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds while also controlling the rim on the opposing side with two blocks. To put it plainly, Sims controlled the court.
He also controlled the fouls.
Sims was charged with a pair of penalties early in the first half, leading to him missing the final minutes of the action. Once tournament play begins, fouls cannot become a lingering factor.
“When he gets two fouls early in the game,” Smart said, “it’s a little bit of a dark cloud because it affects the rotation and being able to get him in and keep him in.”
Texas built a 44-34 lead heading into halftime based on the strength of a 17-for-28 shooting performance. However, Oklahoma went on a 7-0 run early in the second half to cut the Longhorns' lead to five.
It was Courtney Ramey’s back-to-back 3-pointers gave Texas much-needed breathing room entering the final minutes of action. From there, it was smooth sailing that clinched the win.
"He got a special quality of stepping forward when his team needs him to," Smart said on Ramey. "I think what he sensed there was we were just struggling."
Ramey finished 4-of-11 from the field goal range and tallied 11 points on the night.
The real winner though was Smart, who missed the team's first game against Oklahoma due to COVID-19. Sims was also among several Longhorns who were unavailable when they lost by by a point.
"It was very upsetting," Smart said. "Watching that game was one of the worst basketball experiences of my life because I just felt helpless and I knew our team was just less than whole."
Revenge is a dish best served cold. In this case, it's better severed on the road as takeout.
The Longhorns close out the Big 12 regular season against TCU on Sunday.
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