The No. 23 Longhorns (14-5, 4-3 in Big 12) ended a two-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon at the Erwin Center, defeating the Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-8, 3-4) 56-51 to split the season series and move to 12-1 at home.
Cowboys' guard Bryce Thompson led all scorers with 20 points, but the combined scoring efforts of Marcus Carr (14 points), Tre Mitchell (12 points), and Timmy Allen (11 points) willed the Longhorns to the finish line.
"We've lost a couple here and we're just trying to get back on the right step," Allen said. "We're so excited about this win ... no matter how it got done. We got to work on a couple things, but we're heading in the right direction."
The teams combined for 35 total turnovers, with Texas overcoming 20 turnovers to pull out the win.
Things looked like smooth sailing out of the gates for the Horns, who jumped out to a 13-0 lead behind a trio of early 3's from Mitchell, Courtney Ramey, and Carr.
But as they have all season, the Cowboys stayed resilient on both ends of the floor and answered with a 16-0 run. Oklahoma State's aggressive style of ball-hawking defense forced Texas into a near 10-minute scoring drought that finally ended when Carr tied things up at 16-16 with a three at the six-minute mark.
A handful of sloppy possessions by Texas led to turnovers but the Longhorns balanced things out with stout defense in the paint and at the rim.
Oklahoma State led 27-25 at the half after forcing 10 first-half turnovers by Texas. Thompson led all scorers at the half with seven points, while Carr tied Mitchell for the Texas team-lead with six points.
"It certainly wasn't by design, but to be down at half and then to really go out and win the game in the last 20 minutes was just a great sign and lesson of experience for our players," Texas coach Chris Beard said.
The Longhorns got most of their first-half scoring production behind 5-of-15 shooting from deep while holding the Cowboys to just 1-of-5 on 3's, as coach Mike Boynton's team saw most of their scoring come on straight drives to the rim.
The second half began with physical play by both teams, as Texas forward Dylan Disu gave the Longhorns a 31-29 lead after his tenacious offensive rebounding led to a put-back.
The rest of the Horns followed along, as the constant presence on the defensive glass helped Texas make the most of its possessions during the first 10 minutes of play in the second half.
With right under seven minutes to play, Christian Bishop found Brock Cunningham cutting baseline, who then dished it out to Ramey for a three from the left corner. The shot seemed to spark some momentum into the crowd as Texas led 44-37.
The momentum shift took true form thereafter, as the Longhorns got six-straight free throws from Carr and held steady despite a late push from Thompson and the Cowboys.
"The guys did a good job in big moments," Beard said.
Late free throws from Carr and Ramey put the finishing touches on a hard-fought win. The Longhorns will hit the road to face the TCU Horned Frogs (12-3) in Fort Worth on Tuesday.
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