Oklahoma has some work to do to secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It may require winning the Big 12 Tournament, which begins March 9.
The Sooners took a step forward with an easy win over Oklahoma State but then a step back with a 76-63 loss at No. 24 Texas Saturday.
OU All –American Buddy Hield delivered with 33 minutes but a 25-5 late run by the Longhorns provided the much-needed win for Texas.
“For the most part I thought it was just a tricky basketball game,” said OU coach Lon Kruger. “Both teams played well, but we didn’t handle the late game situation very well.
“It was kind of a blur really. We turned it over a couple times and they converted it the other way. We missed a shot or two and didn’t have too many good possessions, and they scored in transition. We didn’t have a lot of good things going there at the end. It gets the crowd involved and gets it going pretty downhill for them.
“Buddy has been at the core of everything we’ve done all year. Other guys have stepped up at different times, but we didn’t have enough of that today. Buddy has been unbelievably consistent and at the core of everything. He gave a great effort today.”
Texas went 20 of 27 (.741) from the charity stripe on the afternoon. OU went to the line just nine total times and knocked down seven of them (.778). UT also owned a significant 43 to 31 advantage on the boards.
OU fell to 22-6, with all six losses coming in the Big 12. OU hosted Baylor Tuesday night and ends the regular season Saturday with a noon game at TCU.
Ryan Spangler scored a career-high 26 points and had 14 rebounds as OU beat Oklahoma State 71-49 in Norman Feb. 24.
“I just felt in rhythm,” Spangler said. “ I think teammates saw me hit one or two and they kept giving me the ball. Once you get in rhythm, it’s kind of hard to miss.
“Coach (Kruger) had been telling me for two weeks to keep shooting it, and my teammates were telling me to keep shooting it, so my confidence has been there. But to see one go through was big.”
Kruger praised Spangler’s effort.
“It’s fantastic,” Kruger said. “Obviously, 14 rebounds are not that unusual for him. It’s great to see him step out and make shots, score inside – he kind of had it going from everywhere, which is great to see. He has worked hard at it, and it’s a given that he’s going to continue to work hard it, so [I’m] really happy for him.”
Spangler made 10 of 13 shots, including a career-best four 3-pointers, and he grabbed 14 rebounds.
“I thought O-State did a great job controlling the pace and had things where they wanted in the first half,” Kruger said. “I thought our guys hung in there. We weren’t making shots, and O-State did to open up the ballgame, open up a little bit of a margin. To have a lead at half, given what was happening, we felt pretty good about that. Then, our guys really turned it up in the second half. They got up into the lanes a little bit and created some offense from defense and created a little bit of a margin.”
Jeff Newberry led the Cowboys with 19 points on a career-high five 3-pointers.
The 22 point margin of victory for the Sooners is the largest by either team since the Cowboys beat OU 72-44 in Stillwater on Feb. 14, 2001
The Sooners lead the overall series, 136-95, including an 83-26 edge in Norman. OSU is 6-13 against the Sooners in the Travis Ford era.