Oklahoma ends 6-game Red River Rivalry losing streak with 73-67 win over Texas
NORMAN, Okla. – Romero Osby scored a career-high 29 points, Amath M'Baye had three rim-rattling dunks among his 15 points and Oklahoma snapped a six-game Red River Rivalry losing streak by beating Texas 73-67 on Monday night.
Osby scored 21 of Oklahoma's 33 points during a 14½-minute stretch in the middle of the game, powering the Sooners (13-4, 4-1 Big 12) to their first win against the Longhorns since he transferred from Mississippi State.
Texas had swept both meetings last season and all three in 2011 while Osby was sitting out under NCAA transfer guidelines.
Off to its worst start in conference play since 1976, Texas (8-10, 0-5) had no answer for Osby after top rebounder Jonathan Holmes left with a right wrist injury with just under 7 minutes left in the first half. Osby checked back into the game about 3 minutes later and took over.
Sheldon McClellan came off the bench for the fourth straight game and led the Longhorns with 25 points.
Texas tried to mount a furious rally from an 11-point deficit in the final 1:42, after Oklahoma's student section started a "Just like football" chant to rub in an apparent victory — to go with three straight on the gridiron.
Ioannis Papapetrou hit consecutive 3-pointers — the first one completing a four-point possession after Jaylen Bond split two free throws — to get the Longhorns within 69-65 with 1:01 remaining. McClellan then missed a 3-pointer that would have made it a one-possession game, and Osby hit two free throws with 42 seconds left to cool the comeback.
Texas hadn't lost its first five league games since doing it in consecutive seasons in the Southwest Conference in 1975 and 1976 under coach Leon Black. Rick Barnes' Longhorns had won their Big 12 opener in each of his first 12 seasons before starting out with a single loss last season.
It keeps getting worse this season with a youthful roster with no upperclassmen in the rotation, and with point guard Myck Kabongo suspended by the NCAA until mid-February.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, is off to a promising start with increasing NCAA tournament hopes.
After taking the lead for good late in the first half, the Sooners started to create some distance with a string of seven straight points soon after halftime. M'Baye beat the shot-clock buzzer with a reverse layup and Buddy Hield blocked Demarcus Holland's jumper at the other end before lobbing to M'Baye for a two-handed slam.
Osby followed that by pulling up at the left wing for only his third 3-pointer of the season to extend the lead to 48-36 with 12:25 to play.
The Sooners ended up shooting 48 percent against the nation's second-best field goal percentage defense, which had been holding opponents to just 34.5 percent.
The Longhorns made it through an early stretch of turnovers on eight consecutive possessions without ever falling behind by more than four points, keeping Oklahoma from producing points out of all the momentum. M'Baye had a two-handed dunk and played to the crowd after Julian Lewis' pass deflected off Holmes' hands and out of bounds for Texas' fifth straight giveaway.
Still, the Longhorns were easily able to recover and were up by five points before Oklahoma finished the first half on an 11-2 run, getting nine points from Osby. He maneuvered past Prince Ibeh along the left baseline and converted a three-point play for a 30-26 lead at halftime.