What if? The Oklahoma Sooners will ask themselves that repeatedly throughout the course of this week.
What if Ebi Ere had shown up? What if Oklahoma could rebound? What if the Sooners could hit their free throws? What if Oklahoma hadn't gone almost nine minutes without a field goal?
None of those questions will ever be answered, but all of them will be addressed during practice this week. In the end, all of those factors led to No. 6 Texas beating the fourth-ranked Sooners for the first time in eight meetings, 67-61.
The Sooners trailed early on by as many as 14 (28-14), but took momentum into the dressing room after a Hollis Price three that cut the Longhorn lead to 36-31 at the half. Oklahoma garnered the lead a couple of times in the second half but forgot how to score around the 12-minute mark.
A massive scoring drought, one that would make Dean Smith and his four corners offense look like Billyball, ultimately did the Sooners in. Add that to the missed free throws and poor rebounding, and you've got the three main reasons for Oklahoma's demise tonight in Austin.
It was not a total loss for the Oklahoma offense. Hollis Price was again the best player on the floor for either team as he tallied 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Kevin Bookout and Quannas White were the only other Sooners to score in double figures with 12 and 10 points respectively. The only beacon of Sooner offensive light not to shine tonight was Ebi Ere.
Ere, who acquired the nickname of ESPN from his teammates last year after numerous outstanding performances on the network, was virtually non-existent throughout the game. Ere had been a major player in the offensive resurgence of the past two games, but tonight he was a hindrance. He shot 2-of-7 from the floor and committed numerous turnovers. It might be time to adjust his nickname.
The T.J. Ford lovefest was in high gear tonight, but when you get down to it, he played sub-par. His final stats of six points and five assists are both well below his average.
The game was won by the sharp-shooting Royal Ivey. Ivey scored 14 points while going 6-of-8 from the field. Time after time it was Ivey with the key shot to squelch a Sooner run. His three-pointer with 2:10 remaining put Texas up 58-54 and was a serious blow to the Oklahoma head of steam.
Another player who stepped up for Rick Barnes' squad was James Thomas. The goliath from New York scored 11 points to go along with 16 rebounds, seven of which were offensive. Thomas displayed relentless pursuit in going after each and every rebound available, and the majority of the second chance opportunities he created turned into points for the Longhorns.
The streak is over. Oklahoma can no longer say they've won eight straight against Texas. Now the most important blip on the radar is the blip shining from Lubbock, Texas. The Red Raiders have not been the same team since Oklahoma defeated them in overtime three weeks ago. Knight's squad beat OU 92-79 at United Spirit Arena last year, and his team will be looking for its third straight win over Oklahoma in Lubbock.
Tip-off is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m.
OKLAHOMA (16-4, 7-2)
Bookout 5-13 2-2 12, Brown 0-1 0-1 0, Ere 2-7 1-2 6, White 3-6 3-5 10, Price 8-16 2-2 23, Johnston 0-2 0-0 0, Alexander 1-3 2-2 4, Gilbert 3-4 0-1 6, Szendrei 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 10-15 61.
TEXAS (16-4, 7-2)
Buckman 3-6 0-0 6, Thomas 3-5 5-7 11, Mouton 6-17 1-3 14, Ford 2-10 4-4 8, Ivey 6-8 0-0 14, Harris 2-7 0-0 6, Erskin 0-5 0-2 0, Klotz 3-4 2-4 8, Ross 0-0 0-0 0, Boddicker 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-64 12-20 67.
Halftime-Texas 36, Oklahoma 31. 3-Point goals-Oklahoma 7-14 (Price 5-10, Ere 1-1, White 1-2, Alexander 0-1), Texas 5-14 (Ivey 2-3, Harris 2-6, Mouton 1-2, Ford 0-1, Boddicker 0-2). Fouled out-Gilbert. Rebounds-Oklahoma 34 (Bookout, Gilbert 6), Texas 42 (Thomas 16). Assists-Oklahoma 5 (White 3), Texas 10 (Ford 7). Total fouls-Oklahoma 20, Texas 16.
Price, Sooners can't escape with ninth straight
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