Texas avoided a fourth loss in five games by relying on its depth. The Longhorns have usually needed everything at their disposable in recent trips to Oklahoma.
The ninth-ranked Longhorns will try to build on their first road victory in nearly three weeks and hand the Sooners their first home loss this season and second in 32 games in Norman on Saturday.
Texas (19-3, 5-2 Big 12) got a much-needed 72-60 victory at Oklahoma State on Monday night despite three starters scoring a combined eight points, including two from struggling center Dexter Pittman.
The Longhorns, though, got a career-high 27 points from freshman Jordan Hamilton, who helped his team rally from an 11-point deficit in the first half.
“Jordan is really learning how to play now,” coach Rick Barnes said. “His idea has been shoot - which he should, you know, he’s a good offensive player - but he’s got to understand when the shots are there. Because he’s so competitive, if he misses a shot, he wants to get it and go try to make up for it. He’s got a scorer’s mentality.”
With Hamilton’s help, Texas avoided a third consecutive road defeat and beat an opponent away from home for the first time since Jan. 13. The win also helped erase the sting of an overtime home loss to No. 20 Baylor last Saturday.
To keep from falling further back in the Big 12 race, the Longhorns will likely need to top an Oklahoma team that’s 10-0 at home this season despite the loss of national player of the year Blake Griffin. The Sooners have beaten 30 of 31 visiting squads over a span of nearly two years.
Oklahoma (12-9, 3-4) isn’t vying for the conference lead because of four straight road defeats, including a 63-46 loss to Nebraska last Saturday. It was the program’s lowest scoring output since putting up 45 in back-to-back losses to the Longhorns and the Cornhuskers in 2007-08.
With 13 points, Cade Davis was the only player in double figures for Oklahoma, which shot 34.9 percent. Willie Warren, who averages a team-high 16.8 points, matched his season low with four.
The Sooners have shot 39.5 percent in conference play.
Oklahoma hopes for a better performance against Texas, which it’s beaten in 22 of 31 all-time home meetings. Oklahoma has won six of the past 10 at the Noble Center with those each of those matchups featuring at least one ranked team.
Either the Longhorns or Sooners have been ranked in each of the teams’ last 25 overall meetings going back to the beginning of the 1999-00 season. Texas holds a 13-12 edge in those games but has won seven of eight, including a 73-68 upset of the second-ranked Sooners on Feb. 21 in Austin.
The then-No. 11 Longhorns, however, fell 78-63 in Norman earlier last season as they missed 45 of 68 shots against the nation’s No. 6 team. The teams’ first meeting of 2009-10 will also mark the first time Oklahoma has faced a Top 25 squad this season.
Texas could use a victory in this matchup ahead of a visit Monday night from top-ranked Kansas. The Longhorns, trying for their 11th straight 20-win season, trail the Jayhawks by two games in the Big 12 race.
Oklahoma leads the series 46-28.