A decisive 19-4 run by the Texas Longhorns in the second half put away the No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners, , at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman on Tuesday evening behind strong performances from senior guard Max Abmas and senior forward Dylan Disu.
Abmas scored a game-high 22 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three and Disu 19 points and 10 rebounds in an efficient outing as Texas shot 54.5 percent in the second half, including 5-of-8 shooting from three, and, importantly, reduced harmful turnovers after allowing 14 points off turnovers to Oklahoma in a close first half.
Sophomore guard Chendall Weaver played a season-high 27 impactful minutes for the Longhorns, finishing with a season-high 11 points and three offensive rebounds.
For Texas opponents at the moment, one of the key defensive questions is how they choose to defend pick-and-roll actions featuring Disu, lethal on the pick-and-pop and on the short roll. Oklahoma opted to switch those ball screens early in the game, just like Baylor did in the second half on Saturday in addition to deploying some 1-2-2 token pressure.
The Longhorns got off to a 5-0 lead early behind a jumper from senior guard Ithiel Horton and a three from Abmas. The lead extended on a floater from Disu when the Sooners busted their coverage on a dribble handoff involving Disu before Oklahoma finally got on the board.
The next pick-and-roll involving Disu was trapped by the Sooners, creating another floater for Disu on the short roll that rimmed out before the under-16 timeout as Oklahoma started 1-of-5 shooting from the field.
Five quick points by Oklahoma guard Rivaldo Soares finally produced some offensive rhythm for the Sooners as the Horns missed 4-of-5 shots until Abmas penetrated and hit a floater while being fouled for a three-point play and Disu hit a tough turnaround, fadeaway jumper on the baseline for a 14-9 lead at the second media timeout.
Disu found Abmas on a nice backdoor cut for a layup and Weaver penetrated for a layup, stretching the margin to 18-9 and forcing Porter Moser to call a timeout with 9:26 remaining in the first half with Texas getting to the rim without much resistance from an Oklahoma defense that ranked in the top-20 nationally in adjusted efficiency entering the game.
But two bad possessions by Texas — on overpentetration by Weaver that resulted in a blocked shot and a poor pass by freshman guard Chris Johnson — produced two dunks by Jalon Moore, including a three-points play on a foul by Johnson, cutting the lead to four points.
Another turnover by the Longhorns, this time by Disu trying to make a crosscourt pass, resulted in another layup by the Sooners in transition with another foul, giving Oklahoma an 11-0 advantage in fast-break points that extended to 13-0 on a dunk by John Hugley IV. With the Sooners on a 7-0 run, it was Longhorns head coach Rodney Terry’s turn to call timeout.
The surge continued for Oklahoma, however, with five more quick points scored before a drive by Weaver broke a scoreless drought of thee and a half minutes for Texas. After the under-four media timeout, Disu hit a three when the Sooners blew their pick-and-roll coverage and senior forward Brock Cunningham made one of his own from the corner, his first three-point make since the UT Arlington game, ending a 1-of-10 stretch from beyond the arc.
Texas went into halftime trailing 33-32 after a put back by Weaver, who scored eight big points off the bench for the Longhorns in the first half.
The second half started hot for Texas with a 9-0 run capped by a fast-break three-pointer by Horton to take a 47-42 lead prior to a hard foul on Longhorns senior forward Kadin Shedrick that left him down on the court in pain and the Sooners assessed a flagrant foul.
Four straight points by Disu and a three by Abmas helped counter a 5-of-7 shooting stretch by Oklahoma as the game went into the under-12 timeout with Texas leading 55-52, although pending free throws out of the break cut that margin to a single point thank to a foul on Cunningham on a three-point attempt.
As the Sooners hit a lull, Weaver’s defense created offense when he was fouled on the fast break after a steal, hitting both free throws. Then Oklahoma had to call for time when Abmas got an open three on a simple give-and-go with Mitchell to take a 60-54 lead with 9:27 left in the game.
A steal by Abmas produced a fast-break layup for Hunter and Disu hit a three to extend the lead to double digits for the first time at the under-eight timeout with the Sooners in serious trouble down by 11 points. During a critical three-minute stretch, Oklahoma was unable to cut into the Texas lead with both teams playing even.
The Longhorns ultimately used a 16-4 run, including six straight points by Disu, to take a 15-point lead at the under-four timeout thanks to 7-of-8 shooting during the decisive surge before cruising to the finish.
Texas remains on the road Saturday with a trip to Provo to face No. 21 BYU at 1 p.m. Central on ESPN2.