It was déjà vu all over again. The #4 Horns (17-2, 5-0) destroyed Oklahoma State (12-7, 2-3), 80-46 in front of a national television audience. The thirty four point loss tied the worst loss in Eddie Sutton's career at OSU. Texas previously beat the Cowboys by the same amount in 1997. The Horns remain the lone unbeaten Big 12 team and own a two game lead over three teams.
The Erwin Center was not rocking until late in the second half because this one was over quickly. Oklahoma State opened in a 3-2 zone that gave Texas fits for the first four minutes. Then, inexplicably the Cowboys switched to man to man and Texas capitalized. Texas led by as many as 19 in the first half due largely to the three point shot. Oklahoma State needed a twenty foot three pointer just to break twenty in the first half.
Texas won once again with defense. Oklahoma State struggled all game long to get good looks. At times it appeared Texas was playing with six guys on defense. The Horns were everywhere. OSU shot an abysmal 34% from the floor and an ever worse 26% from behind the arc. The Cowboys also turned the ball over 20 times. Of those, 14 were steals by the Horns. The Horns also outrebounded the Cowboys by three. The margin was much larger before the game got completely out of hand.
Texas got another hot shooting performance from Daniel Gibson (18 points on 6/12 shooting). Also scoring in double figures were Lamarcus Aldridge (14 points, 4 rebounds) and Brad Buckman (19 points, 7 rebounds). Aldridge played much better in the second half than he did in the first. He still relies too much on the fade away jump shot which he can always get. PJ Tucker played ok but not up to his great standards. He finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. He did have an amazing fast break alley-hoop dunk off a feed from AJ Abrams late in the second half.
This Texas team is good, really good. We are playing amazing defense. Our zone is impenetrable. Our man to man is just as harassing. We are leading the nation in field goal percentage defense. We are forcing turnover and turnover and turning defense into offense. Fast break points for Texas 16. Fast break points for OSU zero. Lamarcus Aldridge and Brad Buckman block or alter at least a dozen shots per game. On offense, Aldridge is consistently getting 12 or more points. Buckman is hitting both from the outside and in the paint. Paulino is running the offense without turning the ball over. Gibson could not be any hotter from the outside and has recently shown his ability to get to the basket more. Tucker has pushed a little the last two games but can still the best player on the floor in any game. Our bench is coming along too. AJ Abrams had 10 points, five assist, three steals, and only two turnovers in just 22 minutes. The game is still too fast for Mike Williams. But he too is improving. This team can kill you from the outside or kill you from the paint, and we always block shots, outrebound our opponent, and play solid defense. Outside of UConn, there is not a team playing better than the Horns.
Coming into the game, I though OSU would be able to hang with Texas for most of the game before losing by double digits. OSU was never in this one. Some people think, including me, that OSU could be the second best team in the league by season's end. It is shocking to see a 34 point win over a fellow Big 12 team and even more impressive when it is over a team with as much talent as Oklahoma State has. Yesterday, I though a perfect 16-0 league record was a pipe dream. Now, I am not so sure. We should easily win our remaining five home games. We still have road game against OU, Missouri, Tech, Ok St, Kansas St, and A&M. All of those are winnable. Our toughest challenge could come this Saturday night against the Sooners.
If the NCAA tournament started tomorrow, we would be a number one seed and I would have no hesitation penciling the Horns through to the Final Four. Unfortunately, March Madness is two months away. Let's hope we can stay this hot for the rest of the season.
Next Game: Saturday 8 PM @ Oklahoma on ESPN2.