AUSTIN, Texas – The Oklahoma Sooners are surging. And when they can grab a tough win at Texas, it makes no difference to them the Longhorns were playing short-handed and without their coach.
Austin Reaves scored 23 points and made two free throws with 18.3 seconds left that proved to be the difference in an 80-79 victory that was stalled by constant fouls and video reviews, and wasn't settled until the Sooners intercepted a long inbounds pass at the end.
“What a battle,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said after the Sooners notched their fourth straight win and second in a row over top-10 opponents. “I feel happy for the guys that they hung on.”
Texas (11-3, 5-2 Big 12) rallied from 11 down to force the game into the final seconds despite playing without coach Shaka Smart, who announced Monday he has COVID-19, starters Jericho Sims and Courtney Ramey, and key reserve Brock Cunningham. Three more Longhorns fouled out and Texas was down to just five scholarship players by the final play. Assistant coach K.T. Turner took over for Smart for the game.
Longhorns guard Matt Coleman, who sat out most of the second half, fouled out when he sent Reaves to the line for the decisive free throws. Texas got back within one when Andrew Jones made two free throws seconds later. The Longhorns then nearly forced a turnover on the inbounds pass before fouling Oklahoma's Jalen Hill with 2.3 seconds to play.
After a lengthy review to make sure Hill wasn't out of bounds when he caught the ball, he missed his first free throw, then intentionally missed his second. But the shot failed to hit the rim, giving Texas one last chance.
But left on the wrong end of the court, Turner used walk-on Blake Nevins, a former high school quarterback, to try a long pass that the Sooners intercepted, sending Texas to its second Big 12 home loss in its last three games.
“We'll have to work on missing free throws, I guess," Kruger said.