Missed free throws, foul trouble, second chance buckets, and unusual shot selection were the brutal reality in Austin on Saturday night for the Longhorns, who dropped their Big 12 home opener to Oklahoma. The game, which was almost locked up by Texas late in the second half, was crucial for the Longhorns because of the depth of the conference as a whole. Texas will now need to upset a top tier conference opponent to pad their tournament resume.
Javan Felix, who had a season-high scoring total, took some questionable shots late in the game that helped seal the deal for Oklahoma. Blame doesn't lie on any one player's shoulders, though, and Felix was instrumental in keeping the Longhorns in a basketball game that almost got out of hand early. Texas didn't even take a free throw in the first half and missed four in a row in the last five minutes that essentially handed the game to the Sooners.
Jonathan Holmes was a non-factor for most of the game because of foul trouble early. However, he almost revived the Longhorns in the last minute by hitting a huge three pointer to make it a one possession game. Oklahoma, who had hit 18 straight free throws, missed both with seconds to go and gave Texas one last opportunity. Damarcus Croaker, who made 5/6 from beyond the arc early in the game, shot a 23 footer that rimmed out and officially handed the game to the Sooners.
For a majority of the game, Texas was out rebounded by a smaller Oklahoma team. The Sooners were able to create a lot of second chance baskets that the Longhorns couldn't afford to give up. Texas played very poorly on the boards which was a strength during their non-conference games.
Texas has a brutal stretch of games coming up, excluding next Saturday night at home against Texas Tech. A Wednesday night contest at Oklahoma State could likely be the third loss for the Longhorns in four games. Texas won't be playing in the postseason if they don't beat some talented Big 12 teams.
Texas didn't deserve to win tonight. They made far too many avoidable mistakes. The Longhorns can't afford to play poorly and skate by if they want a shot at making a run in the conference.