Longhorns rally falls short against OU without Smart, 2 starters on the bench

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AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN/AP) — 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.

Elijah Harkless scored 13 and Umoja Gibson had 12 for the Sooners (10-4, 6-3). Before his late free throws, Reaves had a key three-point play with a drive and layup that drew a fifth foul on Texas forward Greg Brown.

“You just got to make the right play at the end of the game like that, trust your instinct,” Reaves said.

Kai Jones had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Andrew Jones scored 13 for Texas.


Oklahoma: The Sooners appeared in the Top 25 this week for the first in two years and face quite the run of games if they hope to stay there. They are in the middle of a rugged stretch of playing seven ranked opponents in eight games. “We’ve always thought we could be this good, and we think we can be better,” Reaves said.

Texas: The Longhorns are getting turned upside down by COVID-19 like some other programs have this season. Texas hasn’t said when Smart might return and Turner said the Longhorns had only five players available to practice at some points last week. Coleman said he was among the players who had to quarantine and had just returned.

“There were a couple of times our guys could have just laid down and quit. They kept fighting,” Turner said. “There was rust … We’ve had guys out left and right.”


Reaves hit the highlight shot of the game when was on the baseline, got bumped and lofted a high, arcing shot that floated over the corner of the backboard and in.

“I thought I got fouled. I just shot it to get to the free-throw line and it went in. So I guess it was a good shot,” Reaves said.


Oklahoma hosts No. 9 Alabama on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Texas plays at Kentucky on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Game Observations

News, notes and commentary from Tuesday’s game against the Sooners

Final minutes, 2nd half

What an effort from the Longhorns, but it ends in an upset and an OU win. Texas pulled off a 7-0 run in the final minutes, getting to within a point of the Sooners with 40 seconds left at 78-77.

Austin Reaves and Andrew Jones matched free throws, so OU had a 80-79 lead with five seconds left.

Jalen Hill missed the first free throw and then the second intentionally. On the inbound pass, Texas’ Blake Nevins’ inbound pass/heave went straight to OU and Texas didn’t get a last second shot.

OU wins 80-79.

Under 4 minutes, 2nd half

Greg Brown hits a 3-pointer in the corner, cutting the deficit to 75-70. However, the Texas momentum is snapped quickly. Brown is called for a blocking foul at the other end. Austin Reaves hit the layup on the foul. Brown has fouled out. Texas trails 78-70.

Under 7 minutes, 2nd half

Matt Coleman, with four fouls, is back in the game. OU went right at him and De’Vion Harmon scored the short jumper in the lane. OU leading 72-63.

Under 7 minutes, 2nd half

Royce Hamm hit a 3-pointer to get Texas within 68-63 with seven minutes to go. Then, he fouled out with seven points. He likely won’t be the last Longhorn to foul out tonight.

Still a game with OU leading 68-63.

Under 10 minutes, 2nd half

Add Greg Brown to the list of Texas players with four fouls. Can’t fault Texas for the effort tonight. They’re still hanging around, trailing OU 62-56 with 9:45 to go.

Under 13 minutes, 2nd half

This was not the night for quick whistles. Texas has committed 10 fouls in the first eight minutes of the half. OU is in the double bonus for the rest of the night. OU leads 58-47.

Under 14 minutes, 2nd half

With so many players missing, Texas will have to be creative with ball handlers. Donovan Williams, Greg Brown and Kai Jones are just playing some pick up ball. It worked over the last three minutes. Texas cut OU’s lead to seven. Sooners lead 54-47.

Under 17 minutes, 2nd half

The Longhorns are in serious foul trouble and don’t have a lot of bodies able to play.

Matt Coleman – 4 fouls
Kamaka Hepa – 4 fouls
Royce Hamm – 4 fouls

OU is already in the bonus with 16 minutes left in the game.

Under 18 minutes, 2nd half

It may be that kind of night for Texas…in a bad way. Reaves threw up a heave (nearly behind the backboard, which is illegal) and knocked down a jumper.

Next time down, Elijah Harkless gets the and-one for a 48-36 OU lead. That’s the largest lead of the game.

Halftime thoughts | OU leading 43-34

  • OU isn’t taking full advantage at the free throw line, but they have a real edge over Texas. OU is 10-of-17 and Texas is 4-of-8. The Sooners are being the aggressors against an under-manned Longhorns squad.
  • With a follow-up note, OU is totally fine running with Texas and pushing the tempo. Again, it’s not a good recipe for a Texas team with a limited bench.
  • Neither team is shooting the 3-pointer well. Texas is 2-11 and OU is 3-14.
  • OU has a slight advantage in rebounds and turnovers. Rebounding edge: 25 to 24. Turnover edge: 7 to 5
  • Leading scorers: Matt Coleman, 11 points, 5-7 shooting | Austin Reaves, 12 points, 4-8 shooting

Under 4 minutes, 1st half

Texas is lacking on the defensive end tonight. Sims and Ramey are key on that side of the floor. Can’t totally put it on the guys missing, but OU has been able to attack the basket for high percentage shots.

OU leads 37-31.

Under 5 minutes, 1st half

Jase Febres is back for the Longhorns, hitting a 3-pointer in the corner. This is only Febres’ second game in nearly year due to injury. OU leads 32-28.

Under 7 minutes, 1st half

After some cold shooting from both teams, at least, OU has picked it up. The Sooners made eight straight baskets for a 25-23 lead.

Under 10 minutes, 1st half

Donovan Williams stops the bleeding with five straight points. OU up 21-19.

10 minutes, 1st half

An amazingly disastrous two minutes of basketball for Texas out of the second TV timeout. Leading, 14-8, OU scored 11 points in 51 seconds of game time. Andrew Jones had a bad turnover on an inbound plan and then made it worse by fouling Umoja Gibson after the made layup. OU leads 19-14.

Under 12 minutes, 1st half

OU’s Austin Reaves stops an 8-0 Texas run with a jumper. Texas up 14-8.

Under 13 minutes, 1st half

Senior guard Matt Coleman is starting fast without his running mate in Ramey. Coleman is 3-for-3 with 7 points. Texas leads 14-6

Under 16 minutes, 1st half

Greg Brown charges to the rim for a 3-point play. Texas gets to the first TV timeout with a 9-6 lead.

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