Texas has won three of four, including victories over Kansas and Iowa State. Though the Longhorns were coming off a loss to Baylor last Saturday, Texas coach Chris Beard said he likes how his team is playing as it nears the end of the regular season.
“We've just got to find consistency,” he said. "And ultimately, that’s what March is — the teams that are playing their best when it matters most. So tonight, we won the game, and now let’s see if we can get better after a win. We obviously got better after a loss the other day. Now let’s see if we can get better after a win. Only mature teams can do it. And I’m banking on these guys doing that.”
Elijah Harkless scored 19 points and Jordan Goldwire added 18 points for the Sooners (14-12, 4-9), who have lost five of six. But Oklahoma's last three games were a 15-point win over then-No. 9 Texas Tech, a two-point loss at then-No. 8 Kansas and by two at home against Texas.
Allen's tip-in with 14.8 seconds remaining in overtime gave Texas a 79-76 lead. The Longhorns intentionally fouled, and Harkless made two free throws for the Sooners with 6.7 seconds to play.
Beard said he told his players to foul because Oklahoma had been shooting well.
“We don’t always have a set philosophy on that," he said. “A lot of it is by feel. But I thought that basket was pretty big for Oklahoma. You know, the score at overtime was, what, 14 or 12. So I said, 'You know, this is rocket science here, guys, but how about we keep them from making a three pointer and see if we can just make them make a one or two pointer.'”
Carr was fouled with four seconds remaining. He made the first free throw and missed the second, giving Oklahoma a final chance. Harkless missed a desperation heave from well beyond the 3-point line.
“It’s self-inflicted wounds why we’ve been kind of falling down in these close games,” Harkless said.
The main shot clocks above the basket were not working, so the public address announcer counted the seconds when time started running down.
“No big deal," Beard said. "We tell the guys all the time to expect the unexpected, whether it be a delayed flight, a hotel fire alarm, a guy being down from time to time, a little banged up. So tonight was just an example, ‘Hey guys, we control what we control. We can’t control the shot clocks.’”
Texas led for most of the first half, but a steal and layup by Harkless gave Oklahoma a 27-26 lead just over three minutes before the break. Texas rallied to lead 31-29 at halftime. Oklahoma shot 30.8% from the field in the first half but stayed in the game by making 11 of 13 free throws.
Texas led by a point when Jones drained a corner three to make it 61-57 with just under four minutes to play. Bishop's reverse dunk down the lane pushed the lead to six.
Oklahoma rallied and trailed 66-64 before Goldwire's driving layup tied it up with 38 seconds remaining. Texas turned it over and Oklahoma had a chance to win it, but Ethan Chargois' 3-pointer bounced away, and the game went to overtime.
The Sooners feel they are close to having more to show for their play.
“There’s no question we’re better than a month ago,” Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said. “This team is not dead. This team is playing its best basketball right now.”
Texas: The Longhorns couldn’t afford a loss to the Sooners given Oklahoma’s recent slide. Texas pushed through by making 5 of 7 shots in overtime.
Oklahoma: The Sooners needed this one to give their fading NCAA Tournament hopes a boost. They only missed one shot in overtime, but they had two turnovers in the extra period that took scoring opportunities away.
Forward Tre Mitchell, who averages 8.7 points and 4.0 rebounds, is taking a leave of absence and was not with the team.
“I just want to be really clear, it’s personal," Beard said. “I’ve been in communication with Tre and his dad. We support Tre. It has nothing to do with Tre doing something wrong. There’s no rule policy or anything like that, it’s strictly personal. He’s with his family. We support him completely.”
Beard on the announcer counting the seconds on the shot clock: “When he did that first possession ... I was like, ’Is he going to do if for both teams? And as the game went on, I was like, ’Is he going to do this all game long? It was a little bit unique, to say the least.”
Allen fouled out and two other Texas players finished with four fouls. Hill fouled out and two other Oklahoma players had four fouls. In all, there were 46 fouls and 61 free throws between the teams.
Texas: Hosts No. 11 Texas Tech on Saturday.
Oklahoma: Visits Iowa State on Saturday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP
- Ron Groover
- Kipp Kissinger
- Keith Kimble