Longhorns Roped By Cowboys

Texas lost to Oklahoma State 78-65 Saturday, with the Longhorns also losing their chance to end the regular season with a winning record.

Texas led for most of the first half, thanks to a 5-for-10 showing from behind the arc. But the Longhorns went scoreless from the 10:15 mark to the 4:26 point, a span of nearly six minutes, allowing the Cowboys to take the lead back despite a strong defensive performance to that point. Then, with Texas leading 31-29 with less than a minute to go before the half, the Longhorns allowed an 8-0 Cowboy run heading into the break.

First, Phil Forte hit a three-pointer with 57 seconds left. Then, following a Myck Kabongo turnover, Marcus Smart laid the ball in as he was fouled. He completed the three-point play. Smart then stole the ball from Kabongo on Texas's next possession and was fouled by Kabongo. He sank both free throws. The Longhorns did get a shot just before the half, though Julien Lewis's three was off the mark. Just like that, Oklahoma State led 37-31 and had all the momentum coming out of a half where the Cowboys were mostly out-played.

The Cowboys continued on that roll in the second half, scoring the first six points to take a double-digit lead, and the Longhorns were never within single digits again. In all, from just before halftime until about 14 minutes left to go in the game, Oklahoma State went on an 18-2 run that pretty much sealed the game.

The Longhorns, who came back earlier this week against Oklahoma with the help of a swarming press defense, were swallowed up by a similar one from the Cowboys, committing 18 turnovers. And several of those went for easy buckets, with Oklahoma State shooting 51.1 percent from the field, including a blistering 14-of-24 (58.3 percent) in the second half. The Cowboys led by as many as 19 in the second stanza.

Smart put in a workman-like effort, scoring 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting, grabbing six rebounds, stealing the ball four times and dishing out three assists. He did commit five turnovers. Markel Brown led all scorers with 18 points while Le'Bryan Nash scored 16 and Phil Forte added 14 in 14 minutes off the bench.

Fresh off a brilliant performance in Austin, Kabongo was largely frustrated by Oklahoma State's Smart, scoring just seven points on 2-of-7 shooting and committing seven turnovers. On the positive side, he did have eight assists and four steals.

"We actually talked a lot about him today not having the ball in his hand. He didn't get in there and do as much with it, but it wasn't just him," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "It was the other guys not moving the ball and guys getting stagnant."

The only Longhorns in double-figures came off the bench, with Julien Lewis scoring 15 points — albeit on 15 shots — and Javan Felix scoring 13. Sheldon McClellan went scoreless and only played seven minutes.

Oklahoma State (22-6, 12-4 Big 12) stayed within a game of first place in the league with the win. Texas (13-16, 5-11) has its final home game on Monday, when the Baylor Bears come to town, That game is set for 8 p.m. The Longhorns will then travel to Lubbock on Saturday to close out the season against Texas Tech.

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