NORMAN — Oklahoma was unable to build on last week’s momentum.
At Porter Moser The Sooners were swept by No. 20 Texas on Tuesday night, losing 80-78 in overtime at Lloyd Noble Center.
Oklahoma (14-12 overall, 4-9 in Big 12 play) held their own with the Longhorns (19-7, 8-5) for most of the first half, but had to go into mode comeback after Texas went 15 -3 midway through the second half.
For the second game in a row, the Sooners lost by just two points, which Moser says is hard to swallow, but it’s a sign the team is indeed improving.
“I’m miserable right now,” Moser said after the game during a Zoom press conference. “I would tell you guys play their ass. What you do as a coach, especially in the first year, you try not to skip steps and keep improving.
“Are we better than a month ago? Shit yeah. We just played against Texas Tech, Kansas and Texas, three of the best teams in the country. We play pretty hard. We have to play pretty smart. We have to play smarter”
Facing Texas’ incredibly physical defense, the Sooners fought back, but it looked like they would never get back on the hump.
Jordan Gold Thread converted a difficult lay-up thanks to the contact of the Texas defender Courtney Ramey and hitting the ensuing free kick cut the lead to 56-55 with 5:24 to go. A few moments later, Jalen Hill once again cut the deficit to one point with 4:43 to play. But each time, the Longhorns were able to find an answer to extend the lead beyond one possession.
A final Oklahoma rally put OU back in the game.
With the clock ticking under a minute to play, Goldwire was able to create space off the dribble, laying down a shot from the glass from the low block to tie the game at 66-66.
On the other side, the Sooners got a defensive save, giving OU the ball with 19.4 seconds left and a chance to win the game.
Gold thread found Ethan Chargois wide open for a potential 3-point winner, but the OU big man couldn’t convert, sending the game into overtime.
“We wanted Jordan to rip and drive,” Moser said. “They kind of bottled it up. Ethan popped up. Obviously we would like it to roll but it jumped. He actually got a 3 wide open. But we were trying to get Jordan down on a tear and drive we had earlier in the game.
The Sooners needed heroics again to extend the game, as Oklahoma trailed Texas 79-76 with 8.4 seconds left in overtime.
Texas wisely fouled Elijah Harkless with 6.7 seconds left, sending him over the line to shoot a pair of free throws.
The elder drained them both, but OU was unable to force a Texas turnover on the ensuing possession.
Marcus Carr only made one of his two free throws for the Longhorns. OU bounced off the missed free throw with less than five seconds left, but the Sooners weren’t able to move the ball downfield and get a good taste of the win.
Harkless’ last-second heave ended up being the Sooners’ only missed field goal attempt in overtime, but Oklahoma failed to put together any type of play to make Harkless’s life easier once. Tanner Groves reduces rebound.
“We have been there before. We were trying to evacuate it deep,” Moser said. “…Unfortunately we had two bad turnovers and they had two offensive rebounds and we had a really bad foul 28 feet from the basket.
“…We do a lot of good things in overtime, make every shot and every free throw. But fault, two turnovers and two offensive rebounds.
Harkless was the OU’s top scorer, finishing with 19 points and three rebounds. Goldwire was right behind him with 18 points, one rebound and one assist.
Gibson and Hill also finished scoring in double digits, adding 17 points and 16 points respectively.
Oklahoma won the overall rebound battle 32-30, but Texas managed to convert seven offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points, which proved to be the difference as the Sooners could only score five second chance points.
“These are major incidents,” Moser said. “…You get a save, you have to rebound it. We did not do it. They had two late. And in regulation, that five-point streak, it’s timely offensive rebounds and we got saves.
“They really hurt us.”
The loss keeps OU firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble, as the Sooners’ up-and-down journey through Big 12 play continues.
Oklahoma will have another chance to improve its resume on Saturday, as the team heads to Ames with a chance to sweep the Iowa State Cyclones.
“This group kept fighting,” Moser said. “Every practice, we fight. There is no doubt that we are better than a month ago. And there are five regular season games and a tournament. This team is not dead.
The tip between OU and ISU is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
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