The Longhorns owned a six-game winning streak in the Red River Shootout but weren't able to close out a late rally back from 11 points down with less than two minutes left, resulting in Texas's fifth-straight Big 12 defeat.
Texas struggled out of the gate, turning the ball over on eight of the Longhorns' first nine possessions, but trailed just 6-4 at the media timeout thanks to a strong defensive effort of their own.
"I know if I were watching on TV, I would have turned it off," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "It's the way we turned it over. It was just decisions that—you know, passing the ball to guys in areas where [they weren't open], things we've never done. The only thing that helped us during that point in time is they weren't scoring, but we were rebounding the ball a little bit."
The Longhorns (8-10, 0-5 Big 12) gathered themselves and actually took a four-point lead at 19-15 when disaster struck. Forward Jonathan Holmes injured his hand — Texas later announced that it was a broken bone in his right (shooting) hand — and exited the game with 6:58 left in the first half, never to return.
That's when Sooner forward Romero Osby started to go off. Osby had five points when Holmes exited, but began to take advantage of the Longhorns' freshmen big men, scoring 24 points the rest of the game in a career-high 29-point, eight-rebound, three-steal, two-block effort. Meanwhile, Amath M'Baye hunted lobs on fast breaks and finished with 15 points and five rebounds of his own, completing the frontcourt domination.
That duo helped the Sooners (13-4, 4-1) keep a lead between six and 12 points for most of the second half, including an 11-point margin at 69-58 with 1:45 left. But Texas, which has seen its fair share of second-half collapses this year, attempted to push one onto its primary rival.
First, Jaylen Bond was fouled and made the first free throw. He missed the second, but Ioannis Papapetrou pulled down the rebound. He tried to put up a layup, had his shot blocked by M'Baye, gathered the ball back, went behind the arc and drained a three-pointer.
Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield then turned the ball over, and after Julien Lewis missed a jumper, Sheldon McClellan grabbed the offensive rebound and found Papapetrou for his second consecutive three, one that cut the margin to 69-65 with 1:02 remaining.
Sam Grooms made one-of-two free throws and McClellan had a three-point attempt to make it a two-point game, but the shot missed, Osby grabbed the rebound and the Sooners closed out the game at the line.
Osby's effort was an efficient one, with the forward making 9-of-15 shots, including his only three-point attempt, while knocking down 10-of-11 free throws.
"We really believe that Osby's one of the best players in the league," Barnes said. "I mean, we told our team this is a guy that we think can score in a lot of different ways, but you just love the way he plays. He plays within himself."
In addition to M'Baye's 15, Hield was the other Sooner in double figures with a 12-point, four-rebound, four-assist, two-block, two-steal game. As a team, the Sooners shot 48.1 percent from the field.
McClellan continued his recent run of scoring, tying his career-high with 25 points."I thought he was terrific," Barnes said. "And what I mean by that was mentally he was engaged. He communicated more tonight. I thought he had great dialogue and at the end, I mean, obviously you look at they knew we were gonna go to him. I like the fact he got some offensive rebounds and defended. Maybe by far one of the best games he's played just because of the way he was engaged mentally."
Papapetrou scored 12. Starting guards Lewis and Javan Felix were 3-for-15 from the field with five turnovers. After the ominous start with eight turnovers in their first nine possessions, the Longhorns committed just seven more turnovers the rest of the game.
Texas hosts Texas Tech on Saturday, with the tip set for 7 p.m.