Despite a herculean effort from Oklahoma State Cowboys sharpshooter Thomas Dziagwa, the Texas Longhorns were able to overcome a slow start and outlast the Pokes on Saturday afternoon at the Erwin Center, 69-57.
Throughout the opening minutes, Texas slogged through an especially sloppy start, sinking just two of its first eight field goal attempts and totaling three turnovers as Oklahoma State snagged an early 12-5 edge, thanks in large part to a pair of threes from Dziagwa. Following the flat start, though, Texas began to find its stroke, with a Jase Febres three-pointer sparking what ultimately became a 10-0 Longhorns run, and thus, a 15-12 lead.
It wasn’t until Cameron McGriff connected from the perimeter that the Pokes finally stopped the bleeding, and as soon as they did, Kerwin Roach II and Matt Coleman III responded with a pair of buckets to push the lead to 19-15. The next five points belong to the Pokes, as Dziagwa and Lindy Waters connected on a couple looks, but the remaining 8:50 of the first half belonged almost entirely to the Horns.
Royce Hamm recaptured the lead with a pair of free throws, and then a personal 6-2 run from Dylan Osetkowski stretched the Longhorns lead to a handful, 27-22. After Isaac Likekele sacks two looks from the charity stripe to pull the Cowboys back within a single possession, 27-24, Jaxson Hayes and Elijah Mitrou-Long joined in offensively with a pair of looks at the rim, providing Texas with a 31-24 lead entering the under-four media timeout.
Coming out of the break, an overthrown inbounds pass from Curtis Jones paved the way for Roach to take flight with a transition dunk, and that dunks sparked a hot streak down the stretch from Roach, as he scored each of the Longhorns final eight points, guiding Texas to a 38-27 halftime cushion.
Oklahoma State wasted no time cutting into that cushion on the opposite end of the intermission, though.
After a pair of free throws and a quick layup from Hayes pushed the Longhorns lead to 13, 42-29, Dziagwa built upon his strong first half, sinking two more threes en route to an 8-0 Oklahoma State run.
Meanwhile, as Oklahoma State enjoyed success from deep, the Texas guards began to get into the teeth of the Pokes defense and on into the paint.
After back-to-back buckets at the rim from Courtney Ramey and Roach, Ramey displayed some flashes ability with the ball in his hands, utilizing a cross over to create space for a layup plus the foul.
Just like that, the Longhorns were back up by double digits, 49-38; at least until Dziagwa sank his sixth three of the afternoon to trim the lead to 49-41. Moments later, Dziagwa’s seventh three found the mark, and what was just an 11-point lead was now only six, 53-47. Texas did, however, continue to find ways to separate itself.
In hopes of matching perimeter points with Dziagwa, Jase Febres and Dylan Osetkowski each connected from deep, ballooning the Longhorns lead back to double digits, 59-49 before a Waters mid-range jumper cut Texas’ edge to 59-51 entering the under-eight media timeout. Between that break and the under-four timeout, though, the Cowboys remained scoreless, while a tough second-chance bucket at the rim from Hamm capped a 4-0 Texas run, pushing the lead to a comfortable 63-51 with 3:59 to play.
Likekele then connected on a jumper and Waters ripped Roach on the other end, seemingly sparking a bit of momentum down the stretch. But that momentum all but faded as Likekele was charged with a charge and Coleman found a wide open Osetkowski under the basket seconds later, lifting the Longhorns cushion to 65-53, essentially sealing the Texas win.
Unsurprisingly given that he ranked 7-of-11 looks from deep, Dziagwa led all scorers with 23 points. Likekele joined Dziagwa in double figures with 16 points of his own behind an efficient 6-of-11 shooting performance. The rest of the Cowboys rotation, which features only six scholarship players, combined for only 18 points.
Roach, Osetkowski, and Coleman each reached double figures in the scoring column, contributing 16, 14, and 10, respectively.
Now 15-11 after securing its fourth win in six games, Texas will be back in action next Saturday as the Horns travel to Norman in search of a season sweep over the Oklahoma Sooners. The first time around, Texas knocked off a No. 20-ranked Sooners squad in Austin, 75-72.