In the first true road game of the season for the No. 6 Texas Longhorns, the Longhorns made 9-of-9 free-throw attempts in the final 2:07 and guard Marcus Carr hit a big spinning hook shot in the lane as the Longhorns defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 70-69 in Norman in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
Carr and forward Timmy Allen both scored 13 points to lead the Longhorns as guard Sir’Jabari Rice added 11 points, all in the second half, including seven free throws down the stretch.
The Longhorns got off to a slow start in the game, missing five of their first six shots, including multiple layups. Continuing to attack the paint, forwards Christian Bishop and Dillon Mitchell both made shots at the rim before guard Arterio Morris hit a three, one of two Morris hit in the first half.
Late in the half, Texas went cold once again, missing five of the final six shots before the break, going into halftime down 35-31 after shooting only 42.3 percent and turning the ball over six times. Oklahoma had bigger problems protecting the basketball, giving it away 10 times in the first half, but Texas only scored six points from those mistakes and lost the battle of fast-break points 13-7.
Perhaps the biggest key for the Sooners was limiting Carr after his 41-point performance on Tuesday — Carr was 1-of-5 shooting in the first half, scoring four points, and didn’t make his first field goal until hitting a three with 1:17 left in the half.
Defensively, the Texas trend of forcing turnovers, but struggling to otherwise limit opponents to inefficient shooting performances continued with Oklahoma hitting 50 percent from the field in the first half, led by star guard Grant Sherfield, who scored 16 points and hit 3-of-4 attempts from distance.
Opening the second half, Allen scored the first five points for the Longhorns, including a rare three, but Sooners forward Jacob Groves exceeded that pace by hitting two threes and then driving to help produce a putback by his brother, Tanner, to push the lead to seven points, the largest of the game.
With a putback by forward Dylan Disu and a running hoo, the Longhorns cut the lead to three by the under-16 timeout. A stellar post move by Bishop leading to a left-handed bank shot further cut into the margin as Oklahoma went cold from the field. After the Sooners split a pair of free throws at the line, Bishop scored again in the post to tie the game 44-44 with an 8-1 run as the field-goal drought for Oklahoma extended to six minutes by the next media timeout, at which point Bishop and Disu had 18 points combined on 8-of-9 shooting.
A tough driving layup by Allen gave Texas the lead, but a putback by Oklahoma forward Jalen Hill broke the field-goal drought at 7:41 before Carr and Hill hit threes on back-to-back possessions. Heating up, Carr made a step-back jumper, but Groves hit his third and fourth threes of the second half as the Sooners went up by four.
The Longhorns tied the game again with a jumper from Allen and a driving slam by Rice, who then hit a fadeaway jumper. Hill responded with a three to retake the lead.
Sherfield finally scored his first basket of the second half with a driving layup to extend the Oklahoma lead to three points before Rice used his pump fake to draw a foul shooting a three, making all three. On an offensive rebound, the 11th of the second half, Allen gave Texas the lead with a layup. Sherfield responded with another bucket and Carr hit a spinning, fadeaway hook in the lane in an impressive display of shotmaking. When Rice secured a defensive rebound, the Sooners were forced to foul with the shot clock off. In a one-and-one situation, Rice calmly hit the first free throw before Oklahoma called a timeout, then calmly hit the second. After Sherfield made a quick driving basket, Rice was fouled again and hit both to regain the four-point lead. A putback by Tanner Groves maintained some life for Oklahoma with 4.3 seconds remaining. Carr drew the foul on the inbounds and also made both free throws to effectively ice the game.