Texas Hands OU Worst Loss In Series History, 66-37

No. 22 Oklahoma entered Sunday’s showdown against No. 11/14 Texas averaging nine treys in each contest during its recent four-game win streak. At the sold-out Erwin Center, the Sooners bricked all nine three-point attempts of the first half as well as the first nine following intermission as Texas throttled its archrival, 66-37.

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The Sooners went 1-for-21 from beyond the arc (that’s a sub-arctic 4.8 shooting percentage, friend) to suffer their worst loss of the season. In fact, the 29-point margin was the most lopsided in the 61-game series with Texas dating back to 1910. The previous high-water mark for the Horns was their 65-56 win over OU in December 1968. With Saturday’s shellacking, Texas improved its overall mark to 16-3 and, at 7-1 in league play, tied for first with Oklahoma State and Kansas atop the Big 12 standings. The Sooners fell to 15-5, 4-4 in Big 12.

Senior F Brian Boddicker and senior G Brandon Mouton tied for game-high scoring honors with 13 apiece. Mouton opened the game by showing the visitors what a trey looked like and was responsible for all of Texas’ points as the Horns jumped to a 9-2 lead little more than four minutes into the game.

"That forced them to try and come down to make plays," Mouton said of Texas’ quick start. "Our defense stepped up and made it tougher on them to take the open looks."

What open looks? Relentless defense is a trademark for a Rick Barnes team, but if only Sunday’s over-the-top defensive effort could be bottled for Tournament time. How tenacious was the Longhorn D? Consider this:

…Texas held OU to 14-of-53 from the field (26.4 percent)

…Texas held OU to nearly half its scoring average (69 ppg)

…Texas outrebounded OU 30-16 on the defensive end, the difference in UT’s 44-30 rebounding margin

…Texas forced 17 turnovers, collected five steals and blocked five shots.

Senior G Royal Ivey concurred that it was clearly Texas’ best defensive effort of the year.

"We got after it," Ivey said. "We were hustling. We got after loose balls. We were getting hands in the passing lanes. We were playing hard and playing scrappy."

Texas didn’t exactly light it up offensively, hitting 17-of-48 (35.4 percent) from the field.

"We definitely have to get better on the offensive end, there’s no doubt about that," head coach Rick Barnes said, after remarking, "I did think our defense played really well today."

Barnes was not pleased that Texas "went sideways" instead of directly attacking Oklahoma’s zone defense. But, for the second straight game, the Horns were torrid from three-point range (7-of-12, 58.3 percent). The difference, of course, was that the Horns were as scorching from beyond the arc as the Sooners were sub-Arctic. And lest the Sooners needed reminding of their dismal three-point shooting, the UT student section chanted the shooting totals with each successive miss.

"I never dreamed we would ever go 1-from-21 from three point range," OU head coach Kelvin Sampson remarked. "That’s a pretty good recipe for a bad offensive night. Texas is a good basketball team, but we’re not quite that bad."

With the loss of sophomore F Kevin Bookout to mid-season shoulder surgery, the Sooners have relied on a perimeter game. That’s why Texas extended its zone as the game wore on and often switched to man defense to get the Sooners out of their comfort zone. Listening to Sampson, one doubts that his ball club was ever in it. He burned an early timeout just to try and settle his ball club

"For some reason today we were a little bit nervous," Sampson said. "I noticed that early. It was a tough day. It was a tough day at the ranch."

Junior G Kenny Taylor’s three-pointer followed Boddicker’s try to give Texas a 15-6 lead with 12:06 remaining in the first half. Mouton’s slam nearly three minutes later was the result of a P.J. Tucker assist so pinpoint dazzling that it would have made proud former Longhorn All-American T.J. Ford.

Ford, who almost single-handled upended the Sooners in Norman last March, was honored at halftime when Texas athletic officials retired his jersey number. He is the first UT hoopster to have his jersey number (11) taken out of circulation and the just the fourth Longhorn overall (Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams, Roger Clemens).

Wiping tears from his eyes, Ford told the adoring Longhorn faithful that, "During my time period at Texas we (Barnes) had the same vision. Something we talked about all (last) season was to leave a legacy at Texas, and I think we did that."

Texas began to pull away as the Sooners managed just one FG in the final five minutes of the first half. Boddicker’s three-pointer completed a 12-2 Texas run as the Horns led, 33-16, with 2:33 remaining until the break. A pair of Ivey FT spotted Texas a 35-20 lead heading into the locker room.

Texas was woeful from the field during the final 20 minutes (6-of-24, 25 percent) but the Sooners were just as frigid (6-of-25, 24 percent). Texas continued to build its lead through inflexible defense and from camping out at the free throw line (17-of-22, 77.3 percent). In addition, the Horns continue to dominate with its bench points (30-to-16).

As the students chanted "NIT" at the sullen Sooners, Barnes reminded reporters that mid-February represents the home stretch for NCAA Tournament seeding. That’s why Texas employs a "whatever it takes" mentality toward chalking up the Ws and the RPI ratings. With Sunday’s win, Barnes’ bunch notched its fourth win in six weeks over a nationally ranked opponent.

"Our players understand that this time of year you have to control everything that you can possibly control," Barnes said. "February separates a lot of things. This time of year, you’ve got to go."

Appropriately enough, Texas is going. The Horns launch another two-game road swing, starting with Tuesday’s contest at Baylor (8 p.m. CST, Fox Sports Southwest broadcast) and Saturday’s matchup at Iowa State (3 p.m. CST, ESPN+).

Also see James Thomas: Senior center closing in on Thompson's mark.

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