"The thing that impresses me is they had three guys with five assists," Rick Barnes said. "They're not counting on just one guy to move and pass the ball. We've got one guy. We need other guys thinking that way."
They obviously don't. Deginald Erskin, Fredie Williams and Brian Boddicker each had one assist but the Horns did not get a single solid pass out of two and three guards Royal Ivey, Brandon Mouton and Sydmill Harris. Overall, the Sooners finished with 20 assists, including five each from Price, Quannas White and Ebi Ere. Ere led OU in scoring with 23 points, 21 of those coming after the break. White and forward Aaron McGhee each added 20 points and Price totaled 14.
UT's mostly one-man show simply couldn't match OU's balanced attack.
Longhorn freshman phenom Ford scored 22 points and totaled eight assists, but he also turned the ball over an unusually high seven times. That figure doesn't necessarily come as surprise given the fact that the burden of carrying the Texas offense has essentially fallen on Ford with the recent offensive inconsistency of Ivey (zero points Saturday vs. OU), Mouton (15 points but just four made field goals), James Thomas (14 points) and Erskin (five points).
"He's having to shoulder way too much right now and he needs help," the Texas coach said, "and we need to find a way to get him some."
That help needs to come quickly. The loss to OU dropped Texas (17-10, 8-6) from a third-place tie to a fifth-place tie in the Big 12, and a loss to Tech (20-6, 9-5) in the Erwin Center on Tuesday could put the Horns' NCAA Tourney hopes in jeopardy. Although still holding at a solid No. 25 in the simulated RPI rankings, UT has now lost six of its last 10 games and the Horns don't have a quality RPI win since mid-January. Bobby Knight's Red Raiders are No. 14 in the RPI, giving Texas a home court opportunity to end that quality win drought and pick up win No. 18, which may be this team's post-season-clinching magic number. The Horns' recent Erwin Center prowess, though, inspires little confidence that the team can actually pull off what at this point would have be termed as an upset of Tech.
In other words, it's not time to push the post-season panic button just yet, but without an inspired effort from Texas, that time may come Tuesday.