Say what you wish about moral victories, but tonight's heartbreaking loss in Norman certainly provided reason for the Texas Longhorns to walk off the court with their heads held high. Up until Buddy Hield started doing what Buddy Hield does and gave Oklahoma the lead with 1:19 to play, the Longhorns were out front for all but 25 seconds of the game.
But outside of the initial burst to open the game that gave Texas a 13-3 lead, it was a highly-contested match up that saw numerous ties and small leads. But as we knew entering tonight, and have now suffered personally because of, no tie or small lead is safe with the likely National Player of the Year suited up for the other team.
Down the stretch, Hield started doing everything he didn't in the first half; Texas held Hield to six first-half points and the Sooners to a season-low 22 first-half points. Hield doubled that total down the stretch, scoring Oklahoma final 12 points, including the dagger that virtually sealed the deal, and ultimately, Texas' hopes of yet another upset over a top-10 foe.
Hield's the hero.— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) February 9, 2016
Buddy drains the game-winning three for an @OU_MBBall 63-60 win over Texas in Norman. https://t.co/VVOPpw5Eor
Outside of the final result, it's hard not to love the way Texas played tonight. Texas fought every single step of the way, and every time the Sooners started making a run, the Horns' stood up, and put a quick end to what could have easily gotten out of hand without tremendous toughness and composure.
Shaka Smart telling his team to be smart but not back down. #Longhorns @HornsDigest https://t.co/eVVDr7a0Kx— William Wilkerson (@WVWilkerson) February 9, 2016
While Hield became Oklahoma's hero tonight, the final score won't provide Isaiah Taylor with the credit he deserved for putting the team on his back and shouldering the scoring load down the stretch. For Texas to have any chance in this, Taylor was going to have to attack, and he did just that to the tune of 19 points. He finished with only one assists, but that was due, in large, to Texas' shots not falling from deep -- the Longhorns shot a collective 6-22 from the perimeter. The only other Longhorn in double figures was Kendal Yancy, who shot out of the gates with eight quick points, and recorded a new season-high with 13 points. Unfortunately for Texas, all 13 of his points came in the first half.
Prince Ibeh churned out another really impressive game, notching nine points and 11 boards. But most notably, he didn't block and single shot, and registered only two fouls; one of which was a technical. Javan Felix's crafty drives also added nine points, along with five dimes and four rebounds. But on a night where it was a near-given that Texas would need to find lofty scoring contributions from several players, the remainder of the team didn't find much offensive success. Connor Lammert added three points on 1-8 shooting, including 1-7 from deep. Kerwin Roach Jr. added five points, but Demarcus Holland, Tevin Mack, and Eric Davis Jr. were all held scoreless on 0-5 shooting.
Obviously, Texas could have used just a little bit more luck shooting, and it's hard to come into a hostile environment in Norman and snag an upset of the Buddy Hield-led Sooners with an entire handful of key rotation players contributing so little, but it's also difficult to be disappointed in Texas' overall performance tonight. While much of the same could be said for Oklahoma, Isaiah Cousins' 17 points and Hield's 27, including 10-11 from the line and the eventual game winner proved to be enough. But hey, I guess when you've got Buddy Hield, you don't always need much from everyone else.
At least that's the last conference road game against a top 15 foe we will play until Saturday.— Burnt Orange Nation (@BON_SBNation) February 9, 2016
Next up, things don't get any easier for Shaka Smart and the Longhorns. Texas heads to Ames Saturday night to look for a season sweep over No. 14 Iowa State.