Big XII: OU's best not enough to get past Texas

Texas guard Brandon Mouton (#3) hits the eventual game-winner with 27 seconds left in the 'Horns 66-63 win over Oklahoma Friday night in Dallas. Oklahoma led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but Mouton's 3-point play proved to be the game-winner as Lavender's three-point attempt at the buzzer to tie the game drew nothing but air. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

DALLAS, Texas — Oklahoma's three-year Big 12 Tournament reign is officially over.

Playing with just eight available players and in foul trouble for most of the night, the Sooners took the lead with nine minutes to go in the first half and scrapped and clawed their way to a 12-point lead with 7:10 to go in the game.

But the 'Horns quickly responded with an 8-0 run and would eventually take the lead for good on a Brandon Mouton 3-point play with 27 seconds left en route to a 66-63 quarterfinal win over the Sooners Friday night in Dallas.

The Sooners had a chance to win it trailing 64-63, but Drew Lavender's turnover fell into the hands of Mouton. The senior from Louisiana was quickly fouled with 5.8 seconds left and calmly sank two free throws to push UT's lead to 66-63.

Oklahoma inbounded the ball to Lavender whose 3-point attempt at the buzzer to tie the game drew nothing but air after driving the length of the court.

"We just did not make the plays down the stretch," said sophomore guard De'Angelo Alexander, who led the Sooners with 15 points. "We did not take as much time off the clock as we would have liked. "We would have also liked to have not taken so many quick shots because we gave them the chance to come down and get a quick foul and shoot two free throws. The main thing down the stretch was we did not make our free throws."

In all, the Sooners missed four three throws in the last 5:35, including three key misses by Alexander. Jaison Williams' missed second free throw after being fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 1:30 to go also proved costly. Williams did hit two of his three attempts to give OU a 63-61 lead, but the miss gave Texas a chance to take the lead on their next possession. And they did just that with Mouton's bucket, foul and free throw to give the 'Horns the lead for good after trailing since the nine minute mark of the first half

"We were trying to hang on. There were a couple of things we could have done better," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson. "We missed some free throws. The margin of error is not real good or real wide, so it was the little things. We missed three free throws down the stretch and had a critical turnover. This time of the year, when you get into tournament play, it comes down to giving yourself a chance to win."

Texas, on the other hand, gave themselves a chance to win at the free throw line. The Longhorns scored 17 of their 38 second half points from the free throw line and hit 11-of-14 attempts in the last seven minutes.

"The main things in the game that made the difference were that we did not make free throws, they did," said senior guard Jason Detrick. "They finished, we did not. They made the plays down the stretch, we did not. We had all the chances but did not take advantage of them."

"Obviously, it's tournament time and I think this time of year every game can play out like this," said Texas head coach Rick Barnes. "I certainly have a lot of respect for the job Kelvin Sampson has done, they made some big plays."

"We weren't as aggressive defensively at the start of the game, but the fact of the matter is we found a way to come back and win a big game. We found a way to make enough plays."

With the loss the Sooners finish the season at 19-10 and will more than likely not be headed to their 10th straight NCAA Tournament.

"We came a long way from the beginning of the year," said Alexander. "Next year I believe we will come even further, and be a better ball club. We will have some experience so we will know what to expect."

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