NORMAN, Okla. – It wasn't supposed to end like this for Hollis Price and Oklahoma.
The stage was set on Saturday for the fifth-ranked Sooners to claim a possible share of the Big 12 regular season championship, put their stamp on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, push the nations' longest homecourt winning streak to 38 games and send off perhaps the greatest senior class in school history with a win over their arch-rivals. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, someone forgot to tell fourth-ranked Texas they were supposed to lose.
Longhorn guard T.J. Ford led the charge as the Longhorns came back from a 15-point second half deficit to spoil Oklahoma's banner day with a 76-71 win over the Sooners in Norman.
"It is hard to talk right now," said OU senior guard Hollis Price, who scored a game-high 22 points. "We just didn't get the job done and that is the disappointing thing about this game. You play hard but down the stretch we didn't make plays and we didn't compete hard enough."
"This was a tough day," said OU Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. "Texas is a really, really good basketball team. Our team will bounce back."
Ford, a sophomore, ruined Oklahoma's senior day by scoring 14 of his 19 points in the second half, with the dagger a fadeaway jumper over Quannas White to put Texas up 74-71 with just 19 seconds to play.
Oklahoma had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but De'Angelo Alexander missed a three-point attempt from the top of the key. Texas forward James Thomas was fouled on the rebound and sank two free throws to ice the game with 1.2 seconds left.
"I was wide open and it felt like it was going in but it just came up short," said Alexander, on the final shot. "I just popped out on a defensive switch at about the free throw line. I got a good shot. I just didn't hit it."
Alexander sparked the Sooners to start the second half with three straight buckets that gave Oklahoma a 50-36 lead. And a Hollis Price three-pointer with 13:48 to go in the game gave the Sooners' their largest lead at 58-43. But Texas quickly cut the lead to 58-52 with a 9-0 run. The Sooners pushed the lead back to 68-59, but were done in by a 17-3 Texas run over the games' final six minutes.
"We just stayed together and played together," said Ford. "Everyone did their part. Everyone made big shots, it just wasn't one person."
"It's real tough knowing it's his last game here and we ruined the streak," said Ford, on his friendship with Price. "I had to come out and play well and leave our friendship off the court. He played well, all their seniors played well. I wish them the best of luck."
"We'll have another team next year, but we'll most certainly miss these four unbelievable young men," said Sampson on graduating seniors Ebi Ere, Jozsef Szendrei, Quannas White and Price. "Remember this about this group. Their careers will be over in another month. We've still got another month. However, they will never, ever leave this basketball program or this university."
Buckman 0-0 2-3 2, Thomas 4-6 2-4 10, Mouton 4-10 1-2 11, Ford 7-13 4-7 18, Ivey 6-8 3-3 16, Harris 2-5 1-2 6, Erskin 0-0 0-0 0, Klotz 1-3 0-0 2, Ross 0-0 0-0 0, Boddicker 3-5 3-4 11. Totals 27-50 16-25 76.
Szendrei 1-1 0-0 2, Brown 1-5 0-0 2, Ere 1-6 3-5 5, White 3-9 2-4 11, Price 7-16 3-3 22, Johnston 0-0 0-0 0, Alexander 5-12 0-0 10, Gilbert 3-5 5-9 11, Bookout 4-6 0-2 8. Totals 25-60 13-23 71.
Halftime-Oklahoma 42-34. 3-Point goals-Texas 6-11 (Boddicker 2-3, Mouton 2-4, Ivey 1-1, Harris 1-2, Ford 0-1). Oklahoma 8-21 (Price 5-10, White 3-4, Ere 0-1, Alexander 0-6). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Texas 37 (Thomas 6), Oklahoma 34 (Alexander 8). Assists-Texas 13 (Ford 10), Oklahoma 16 (White 7). Total fouls-Texas 21, Oklahoma 23. A-13,207.
Texas sophomore ruins Oklahoma's senior day
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