With the road win, the Horns improve to 21-7 on the season, 11-3 in conference play. Now, a Texas team predicted to finish fourth in the Big 12 Conference can successfully defend its league title by winning its last two games. It's a tall order, considering No. 9 Texas A&M is the Senior Night foe (February 28) and that the regular season ends at No. 6 Kansas (March 3).
No. 19/20 Texas had already secured an opening-round bye in the Big 12 Conference Tournament (March 8-11) but is now looking to improve its seed in the NCAAs. Recent projections have Texas as either a No. 6 or No. 7 seed, but the program would obviously enjoy a tremendous boost with at least a split during its final regular season games and a couple of wins in the conference tourney.
While Texas couldn't buy a bucket in the second period, it made a living at the charity stripe. The Horns scored 22-of-27 points from the foul line as Durant and Augustin connected on 17-of-20 FTs. Texas went to the foul line 34 times, connecting on 23 (67 periods). The Sooners took just 12 foul shots, hitting eight. Overall, Texas shot 46 percent (18-of-39) from the floor, including 9-of-16 (56 percent) from three-point range. Oklahoma connected on 21-of-50 FGs (42 percent). The Horns also controlled the boards, 27-18.
As expected, former-Oklahoma commit F Damon James got an ear-full from the Sooner student section. (The Longhorn freshman was one of three Sooners released from their letters after former OU coach Kelvin Sampson left for Indiana last April). James finished with the game with seven points, seven boards and two blocked shots.
The Horns jumped to a 16-2 lead after the Sooners opened 0-for-5 from the field. Meanwhile, Durant drained his first four FGs including a pair of three-balls. Damion James' lay-up followed Augustin's trey to push the early lead to 27-10. Oklahoma wrapped a 9-0 run around an Augustn trey to pull within 30-19. Both squads began trading long-range bombs as Durant's fourth bucket from outside the arc kept the Sooners at arm's length, 38-24. Texas took a 41-28 lead into the locker room after Durant, double-teamed throughout most of the contest, connected on 7-of-9 FGs during the opening frame
Oklahoma misfired on 6-of-7 shots to start the final 20 minutes of play while Texas started 0-for-10 from the field. A pair of Durant FTs made it 46-34 contest with 13:03 remaining. Michael Neal's trey trimmed the margin to single digits, 48-39. The Horns' first FG of the second, courtesy of a Durant trey, did not come until 8:19 left. That made it a 53-41 ballgame.
Austin Johnson's trey kept the Sooners in the contest, 55-45, but the fouls continued to mount against the home team. Oklahoma also went with a quicker four-guard lineup, allowing the Sooners to run down more offensive boards. A pair of Durant foul shots gave him his seventh 30-point game of the season.
With 5:03 remaining and Texas leading 59-47, Oklahoma A.D. Joe Castiglione appealed to the Sooner faithful to stop throwing objects on the court. Johnson' third trey brought OU within 60-50 at the 4:05 mark, but teed-off Sooner coach Jeff Capel got T'd-Up 25 seconds later. A.J. Abrams knocked down the first foul shot but then missed his first FT (in 35 attempts) in conference play.
A pair of Durant freebies pushed the Texas lead to 64-52 with 2:12 left on the clock but Sooner G David Godbold made it a nine-point game. Another Johnson trey cut the cushion to eight, but it was too little, too late for the Sooners. Ironically, Damion James put the game on ice by completing the scoring with a couple of foul shots.