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'It's March!' Tyrese Hunter Turning Up at Right Time for Texas

Texas Longhorns guard Tyrese Hunter appears to be saving his best for March.

AUSTIN -- Before getting comfortably seated in his chair at the podium on Saturday, Tyrese Hunter heard the trash talk from teammate Dylan Disu.

"Finally didn't miss a free throw, geez," Disu said jokingly to Hunter, who had just 9 of 9 from the free throw line.

For Hunter, who has shot a career-worst 66.7 from the line this season, being the recipient of the playful banter was timely after a performance that had little to critique.

Hunter scored a career-high 30 points and dished out seven assists to help lead the Longhorns past Oklahoma in a 94-80 win at the Moody Center on Saturday. Having already proven he can shine on the biggest stages in March, Hunter said he recognized that now was the time to turn it up as the team prepares for the postseason.

Texas Longhorns guard Tyrese Hunter (4) reacts after scoring during the second half against the Oklahoma Sooners at Moody Center.

Texas Longhorns guard Tyrese Hunter (4) reacts after scoring during the second half against the Oklahoma Sooners at Moody Center.

“It’s March and this time of year you have to be on your game trying to find ways to win games, it’s all about survive and advance,” Hunter said. “My confidence never goes away, you can effect the game in so many ways, I felt like my assist game was great tonight and I’ve struggled this year from the line, so having a good game from there as well was huge.”

This season, Hunter has been as up-and-down as the team itself, oftentimes failing to string together consistent performances on a game-to-game basis, particularly in conference play. After scoring a combined 11 points in losses to West Virginia and UCF, Hunter exploded for 21 points and had the game-winning layup against then-No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 20. However, he followed this up with just five points in the win over then-No. 11 Oklahoma before scoring 10 against BYU the next game.

In the three games after this, he scored five, six and zero points before scoring 19 in a win over West Virginia. Considering the standards Hunter clearly has for himself, it's hard to imagine that this type of inconsistent production is going to cut it.

Wipe that inconsistency away, and the Longhorns could make some noise in March.

"If you get that other guard scoring like that to go along with Max (Abmas) and Disu, they're elite," Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said after the game.

Hunter and the Longhorns will face the Kansas State Wildcats for their first game of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT.