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Texas Longhorns Basketball: OU Beats Texas 77-65

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The Longhorns shot themselves in the foot with costly first half turnovers.

Rick Barnes' probably wished he could sneak this guy onto the court on Saturday.
Rick Barnes' probably wished he could sneak this guy onto the court on Saturday.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Cousins and Buddy Hield carved up the Texas defense, scoring 24 and 17 points respectively, as the Sooners easily dispatched the Longhorns in Norman. Cameron Ridley scored 19 points and captured 14 boards in the loss.

From the start of the game, Texas struggled to take care of the ball. The Longhorns fell behind in the first half while turning the ball over 12 times in 34 possessions, managing only 25 points; it is hard to score without the ball. Javan Felix, Isaiah Taylor, and Jonathan Holmes were all guilty of multiple turnovers in the first half. By essentially giving away a third of its first half posessions, Rick Barnes' team dug itself a seven point first half deficit that the Sooners would extend in the second half.

OU didn't fully capitalize on all of the Texas turnovers in the first period, or else the scoring margin could have been larger. The Sooner offense wouldn't get fully ramped up until the second half.

In the second period, Isaiah Cousins and the OU offense came out firing, building a double digit lead before the first TV timeout. Cousins would go on to score 17 of the Sooners' 45 points. The Texas offense was better in the second half, scoring 40 points on 33 possessions, but the D just couldn't get enough stops to keep the game close.

Hield and Cousins are a difficult combination of players to defend, and Texas simply doesn't have enough effective perimeter defenders to match up with two scoring wings. Javan Felix has a hard time with the size of these sorts of players, and Damarcus Croaker didn't look like he is able to defend Hield or Cousins at all.  Rick Barnes briefly went into a zone defense as a response (and to try to put more size on the floor), but several Oklahoma threes quickly ended that experiment.

The Longhorns could have helped themselves with better shooting (Texas was 3-19 from three point range), but frankly they just weren't digging their way out of the hole they created with first half turnovers without better second half defense; giving up 45 second half points on 33 possessions undermines any attempt at a comeback. Meanwhile, Lon Kruger's D effectively bottled up Isaiah Taylor, limiting his chances to penetrate in half-court settings.

As of now, Rick Barnes' team is stuck at only three road wins, but Texas' troubles on the road haven't exactly set them apart in the conference. During this weekend's slate of games, no Big 12 team won on the road. Only Kansas and Oklahoma have more than three road victories this year. The Longhorns have a chance to pick up one more road win next Saturday against Texas Tech.

Big 12 Road Victories by Team, through Saturday, March 1

Kansas (5): Oklahoma, Iowa State, TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech

Oklahoma (4): Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State

Iowa State (3): Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU

Texas (3): West Virginia, Baylor, TCU

West Virginia (3): TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor

Baylor (3): Oklahoma State, TCU, West Virginia

Kansas State (2): TCU, Texas Tech

Oklahoma State (2): West Virginia, TCU

Texas Tech (2): TCU, Oklahoma

TCU (0): None

This week, Texas faces TCU at home, before closing out the season in Lubbock.