OU Takes Wind Out Of UT's Sails, 82-72

No. 22/24 Oklahoma knocked down three-straight treys to break open a tight game against No. 4/5 Texas in Norman Saturday. It was part of 13-2 second-period run resulting in Texas' first Big 12 loss, 82-72, and snapping college basketball's longest-winning streak at nine.

It was a home game that OU desperately needed if it was going to stay within striking distance of the Horns, now 17-3 on the season. Texas is 5-1 in Big 12 play, now with just a game lead over the 4-2 Sooners, and only a half-game lead over 5-2 Colorado.

Proof that stats are misleading: G Daniel Gibson (6-of-17 FG) would tie Sooner G Terrell Everett as the game's leading scorer with 23 points, yet Everett's FGs were clutch while Gibson's perimeter game didn't get untracked until this one was decided. Thanks primarily to Gibson, the Horns were 25-of-46 from outside the line during the past two games. But the sophomore was 4-of-14 from three-point range with just one of those buckets coming when the outcome was in doubt. Point-guard Kenton Paulino got into early foul trouble as the Sooners forced Texas' backcourt to drive to the hole.

All told, Texas was just 5-of-18 from outside the arc (27 percent) and 27-of-58 (46 percent) for the game. F LaMarcus Aldridge (11-of-15) was a warrior and made it look easy, notching 22 points and 12 rebounds for a Big 12-leading tenth double-double of the season. Yet the big guy was whistled for his fourth personal with nine minutes remaining as the game slipped away from the Horns. P.J. Tucker tallied 14 points but most of his damage came in the first period. Texas F Brad Buckman and Oklahoma F Kevin Bookout practically neutralized each other as both were held to two FGs respectively.

If there is an Achilles Heel to a Texas team with legitimate Final Four aspirations, it is depth. The Horns got no points from its bench Saturday. None.

Texas held opponents to 31.6 percent from the field during its nine-game winning streak. On Saturday, OU shot 53 percent (31-of-58) from the floor while connecting on 42 percent (8-of-19) from three-point range.

Texas jumped to a 6-0 lead, including an Aldridge slam on the assist from Tucker, before OU responded with five unanswered. The Horns switched from their full-court press to a 2-3 zone, as Aldridge added another dunk and a turnaround jumper to give Texas a 12-9 advantage.

Freshman A.J. Abrams checked in with about 13 minutes remaining after Kenton Paulino was whistled for his second personal. Michael Neal drained a pair of treys to help build a 21-17 Sooner lead. An Aldridge jumper, followed by his tip-in, knotted the affair at 23. Taj Gray's tip-in gave the Sooners a 33-28 margin before Gibson answered with his first trey of the game. (It was also the first FG of the first period by a Longhorn not named Aldridge or Tucker). The home team took a 35-31 lead into the locker room.

The temperature was raised several degrees in this heated battle after Gray was called for a technical nearly four minutes into the second period and OU enjoying a 42-35 lead. An Aldridge hookshot and Gibson's driving layup narrowed the Sooner advantage, 42-40. David Godbold's trey made it, 47-42, Oklahoma. Aldridge followed his turnaround jumper with a tip-in to bring the Horns within one at 47-46. And Aldridge's next FG briefly spotted Texas a brief 48-47 lead.

But Neal hit back to back treys to make it 53-50, Oklahoma. Aldridge took a seat when he was whistled for his fourth personal with nine minutes left. Gibson's trey from the left wing put an end to a 13-2 Sooner run but the Horns now trailed, 60-53. Gray's traditional three-point play gave Oklahoma its first double-digit lead at 65-53

By the time Aldridge checked back in, OU held a 10-point bulge at the six-minute mark. Kenton Paulino's three-ball brought the Horns with 65-58 but that was as close as the Horns would get.

The Horns can exact a measure of revenge when the Sooners visit Austin on March 5. For now, Texas continues its road swing with a matchup at Missouri, Wednesday, February 1.

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