The two teams were tied 42-all with 7:43 left and Texas led by just four points, 50-46, with 3:42 remaining. But the Longhorns went on an 8-0 run, fueled by six points from point guard Myck Kabongo. Kabongo made three-of-four free throws down the stretch, then, after a jumper from J'Covan Brown, iced the game with a three-pointer with 58 seconds remaining. That gave Texas a 58-46 lead that was only cut into when Keiton Page hit a nonessential three with five seconds left.
"We were in the bonus in each half, so it was really key for us to go in there aggressively and attack," Kabongo said afterward. "I think our big guys did a great job because they were on the offensive glass and drew fouls."
Neither team played well offensively in the first half, with J'Covan Brown, Julien Lewis and Sheldon McClellan combining to score five points on 2-of-18 shooting from the field. And the two teams combined to shoot just 27 percent. Still, the Longhorns went into the break tied at 21, thanks largely to 13 first-half turnovers from the Cowboys.
Things weren't much better after halftime, with neither team showing the ability to pull away thanks to poor shooting and execution. The Cowboys took a few leads themselves, holding a three-point advantage on a Michael Cobbins jumper with 10:20 left. But Texas tied the game up within a minute and never trailed again.
"Defensively, I think we worked hard as a group," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "I thought all year long, of all the games up to this point, it was the most consistent that we [have been] on the defensive end. Early, we missed some shots and we probably got a little overly aggressive trying to drive the ball too deep. I think it's a great lesson for our guys in that you have nights like this where you just can't make a shot. It's a conference game. It's going to be a grind. Oklahoma State is a team that plays hard. Defensively, I thought we had a good effort by most everyone. We were trying to do what we talked about after the Iowa State game."
Kabongo finished with 15 points and six assists, while Jonathan Holmes scored 11 points off the bench. McClellan, Lewis and Brown scored a combined 21 points on 8-of-31 shooting. Jaylen Bond went 0-for-4 from the field, but grabbed a team-high nine boards and had three steals.
Brian Williams paced the Cowboys with 16 points and grabbed six rebounds. Le'Bryan Nash had 12 points and four rebounds, but had five turnovers. Cobbins had nine points and a game-high nine rebounds. He also had five blocks.
Texas shot just 30 percent for the game, but had 11 steals and forced 21 turnovers.
Oklahoma State (8-7) dropped to 1-1 in conference play. Texas (11-4) gained its first conference win of the season and also went to 1-1. Texas will host rival Texas A&M on Wednesday. Tip off is 8 p.m.