Sooners stall in overtime loss at Texas
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2013
2/28/13 at 8:52 AM
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AUSTIN, Texas - An Oklahoma football player flashes the "Horns Down" sign against Texas, it signals one thing: Open the floodgates, the Longhorns are about to drown.
An OU basketball player does the same, as Amath M'Baye did after slamming home an alley-oop Wednesday night, it apparently means something altogether different:
Mayday! The Sooners are about to give away a game.
In this case, a 92-86 overtime final in Austin.
It was crushing in every sense of the word. OU, in pursuit of an NCAA tournament bid, dropped to 18-9 overall and 9-6 in the Big 12 Conference, and now faces a critical bounceback game against Iowa State Saturday in Norman.
The Sooners came in playing, as coach Lon Kruger put it this week, "their best ball of the season." They had won four of five games, and seemed to only be gathering steam after shooting 71 percent in Wednesday's first half.
It was 43-28 at that point, then 59-41 with 11:55 remaining at the second timeout of the second half.
When M'Baye went "Horns Down" with 7:54 to play, he had just put the Sooners ahead 67-45. Fans at the Frank Erwin Center might have cared, but they were too busy heading for the exits.
Someone noticed, however: Texas players.
A half hour later, Myck Kabongo literally threw in a running shot at the regulation buzzer to tie the score at 77-77. The Longhorns had used a 13-0 run after M'Baye's moment to give them an excuse to care. Then they really took off after using a fullcourt press to rattle OU into turnovers and quick missed shots.
Kabongo, who finished with 32 points, eight rebounds and six assists, capped a 32-10 end-of-regulation run with his miracle. From there, overtime practically seemed like a formality.
Kabongo hit a 3 to start it. Osby, who went for a career-high 31 points, hit two free throws and blew by Connor Lammert for a jam to give OU an 81-80 lead.
But it was all Texas from there.
Kabongo hit a free throw. Then he flashed in from the weak side and poked an entry pass from Osby, took possession himself, and beat Cameron Clark for a driving layup to put the Longhorns up 83-81.
Sheldon McClellan hit a pair of free throws to make it 85-81, before M'Baye swished a 3 out of the corner with 1:20 remaining. OU needed a stop to bail itself out, but instead gave up an Ioannis Papapetrou 3.
That was it, for all practical purposes. Steven Pledger, who made his first five 3s before missing six of his last seven, ironed off a forced 3, and the Longhorns started to stretch it out at the line.
Texas came in so low that coach Rick Barnes had started saying he would notice players "checking out" the rest of the season. The Longhorns were 12-15, 4-10 and assured of no postseason berth of any kind.
The only thing they could rely on was their defense, supposedly. They were fifth nationally in field goal percentage defense, and fourth in 3-point defense.
It didn't keep the Sooners from an absolute blitzkrieg over the first 30 minutes.
Pledger was 5-of-6 beyond the arc at halftime. Osby was 5-of-6 overall and M'Baye was 3-of-4. The Sooners continued to score right after Barnes went to his press, at least initially.
But a funny thing happened after OU started rushing things both in the backcourt and in their halfcourt offense - the Longhorns stole the confidence the Sooners came in with.
McClellan's 3 brought Texas within 72-71 with 1:05 left in regulation. It still looked like OU would hold on at the line - Sam Grooms' two free throws made it 76-72 with 16 seconds left.
But Pledger fouled McClellan on a 3, allowing the Texas guard three made free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining.
Osby then hit 1-of-2 foul shots to make it 77-75 with 6.9 ticks left, right before Kabongo went the length of the floor and hit his wild runner.
Vs. Iowa State
12:30 p.m. Saturday
Original Print Headline: OU stalls in OT loss at Texas
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355