In spite of a 4-of-14 performance from the field, Kerwin Roach II found the ball in his hands with 11 seconds left on the clock, isolated at the top of the key against one of the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ best defenders, Lindy Waters III. Roach managed to blow by waters and convert on an off-balance layup with one second on the clock the Texas Longhorns the 65-64 win over Oklahoma State in the Erwin Center on Saturday.
Roach’s shot to win the game in the final seconds seemed like a longshot after the Cowboys went up big early in the second half.
Oklahoma State looked dominant coming out of halftime, cracking off a 16-2 run to go ahead 42-35 in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Texas found itself down 52-44 with nine minutes left on the clock, but managed to clamp down on the Oklahoma State on the defensive end of the floor, while aggressively attacking the basket on offense.
An active zone defense played a large role in the comeback — that strategy paid off for the Longhorns with a 14-3 run, including six from Roach, to put the Longhorns ahead 59-55 with 2:40 left on the clock. A quick five from the Cowboys gave them a one-point lead, and the teams traded baskets for the remainder of the game, setting up the late-game drama.
Though it was hardly an efficient effort, Roach finished the game with 12 points, with eight coming in the critical second half.
And although Roach hit the game-winner, the Longhorns wouldn’t have been in a position to win without big contributions from unlikely sources like sophomore guard Jacob Young and freshman forward Jericho Sims.
Young found himself with an increased role today after the university decided to hold Eric Davis Jr. out of today’s game after a Yahoo Sports report alleged that he received improper benefits. The sophomore guard, who averaged 4.2 points per game prior to Saturday’s matchup, maximized his opportunity and finished the game with 12 points, including two big threes in the second half.
Sims was called into action early, as Mohamed Bamba was limited in the first half and did not see the floor in the second due to a nagging toe injury. On the block, Sims was a significant and needed presence the Longhorns in racking up 11 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks in his 26 minutes of play.
Although this game vastly increases the chances of making the NCAA Tournament, a win in either of their final two games this season and a victory in the conference tournament could all but guarantee their trip to the tournament. The Longhorns next travel to Allen Fieldhouse to take on the Kansas Jayhawks on Monday before closing out the season at home against West Virginia Mountaineers next Saturday.