By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
AUSTIN, Texas — For 32 minutes, Oklahoma dominated Texas. The last eight minutes and overtime, however, turned a potential blowout into a 92-86 debilitating loss to the Longhorns.
Romero Osby scored 31 points and Steven Pledger scored 18 to lead the Sooners. Both, however, were upstaged by Texas guard Myck Kabongo. The Longhorns’ point guard scored 31 points, including an off-balance prayer with the clock winding down in regulation that sent the game to overtime.
The Sooners (18-9, 9-6 Big 12) never recovered. They were in shock after blowing a 22-point lead with a 7:54 to play. At that point, a small crowd at the Erwin Center had already started filing out. Most had no intreats in watching OU snap a six-game losing streak to the Longhorns in Austin.
It was an alley-oop dunk from Amath M’Baye, who scored 16 points, that gave OU its largest lead of the game. The junior forward flashed the “’Horns Down” sign as he trotted back down the floor.
Texas (13-15, 5-10) launched a 32-10 run after it.
OU lost despite shooting 50.9 percent (29-for-57) and 9 for 18 from 3-point range. However, the hot shooting was from the first 32 minutes.
After M’Baye’s dunk, OU made just three more shots the rest of the game. Its composure disappeared. It committed five turnovers in a three-minute span that quickly allowed Texas to get back in the game.
Osby got in M’Baye’s face after the taunt.
“I wasn’t trying to get on him, because he’s a grown-up. I was just telling him, ‘Let’s win with class,’” Osby said. “We were up by 20 at the time. I just didn’t want karma to kinda come back on us over something like that.”
Osby’s fear became reality. OU was 3 for 15 from the field after M’Baye’s dunk and committed five turnovers.
Neither Kabongo or Texas’ Ioannis Pappetrou or Sheldon McClellan claimed to see the gesture, but the game obviously changed.
The Sooners finished with 16 turnovers. The Longhorns turned those into 26 points.
“We didn’t take care of the ball and you have to credit them,” OU point guard Sam Grooms said. “They went to the full-court press and were active. They got their hands on some balls and got some steals. It led to scoring opportunities for them and gave them momentum.”
Kabongo, who didn’t play in the Sooners’ 73-67 victory Jan. 21 over the Longhorns at Lloyd Noble Center, only had three points in the first half. He scored 28 in the final 25 minutes, including eight in overtime. McClellan added 18 and was a perfect 13-for-13 from the free-throw line. Three came after a controversial foul on Pledger on a 3-point attempt with nine seconds to go.
Osby had a chance to seal the game in regulation, but missed one of two free throws.
Kabongo drove the length of the floor and scored in six seconds to send the game into overtime.
Osby gave OU a brief lead with 3:10 left in overtime with a dunk, but the Sooners’ never led again.
The loss blew a chance for OU to seize fourth place in the Big 12 all by itself. Instead, it’ll face Iowa State on Saturday for that designation.
“It’s tough to let this one slip away, we’ve got to regroup,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “This one is going to hurt for a while, but we have to bounce back.”
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