Freshman Hamilton leads No. 9 Texas past OSU 72-60
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)—Before his team played No. 9 Texas, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford knew only a few things about Jordan Hamilton.
The freshman swingman had played only 2 minutes in the Longhorns’ loss at Baylor two days earlier—a game that went into overtime. Now, Ford knows so much more.
Hamilton scored a career-high 27 points and Texas finally slowed down James Anderson in the second half to beat Oklahoma State 72-60 on Monday night.
“We have seen him go off,” Ford said after admitting Hamilton wasn’t heavily scouted. “We did know every time he touches it, he’s going to shoot it. Every single time he touches it, he’s going to shoot it. We know that and we talked about it.”
And most every time Hamilton shot it, he made it.
Hamilton finished 11 for 16 from the field and made five of his eight 3-point attempts to surpass his previous scoring high by 10 points.
“Jordan is really learning how to play now,” Texas 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.
“We know he can do what he did tonight, but the thing that pleased us most tonight was he really tried to play on the defensive end.”
After mostly sitting on the bench in the Longhorns’ last game, Hamilton said he had a pregame meeting with Barnes and assistant coach Russell Springmann.
“They just told me if I played hard, I’m going to be on the court,” Hamilton said.
The results were just what the Longhorns (19-3, 5-2 Big 12) needed, having lost three of their previous four games after reaching No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school history. They got back on track Monday, winning in a building that’s been a house of horrors for Texas teams with top-10 rankings.
Texas had lost the last three times it brought a top-10 ranking into Gallagher-Iba Arena. This time, the Longhorns fell behind by 11 in the first half before Hamilton got going.
“You’ve got to have a little pain. You’ve got to have a little adversity to get some attention,” Barnes said. “I think he realized that he had to do this. We had gotten to the point in the season where we couldn’t talk about it anymore.”
Hamilton scored all but two of his points in the final 22 minutes and put the game away with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:19 remaining that gave Texas a 13-point lead. Damion James added 14 points and Avery Bradley scored 10 as the Longhorns snapped Oklahoma State’s 16-game home winning streak.
“A great team like Texas, they just pick and choose your weapons: `Let’s try him. See how he does,”’ Ford said. “And Rick does a great job of managing those players, and they played really well tonight.”
Anderson had 28 points to lead Oklahoma State (16-6, 4-4), but only four in the second half. Obi Muonelo added 12 points and Matt Pilgrim had 11 points and 10 rebounds in his first start since the second game of the season.
The Cowboys played without starting point guard Ray Penn for the fourth straight game due to a knee injury and cleaned up their game after averaging 19.7 turnovers without him.
OSU gave it away only 11 times, but Texas was even better with a season-low five turnovers while shooting 59 percent in the second half (16 for 27). The Longhorns had committed at least 18 turnovers in each of their three losses.
“No more nights like that, man,” James said. “We really focused on what we had to do—not turning the ball over.”
Hamilton spurred the Longhorns ahead during a 10-0 run midway through the second half. It started when he drove the baseline for a right-handed jam, and Gary Johnson’s basket inside gave Texas a 46-45 lead with 12 minutes left.
Hamilton followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to give Texas a seven-point edge before Muonelo hit consecutive jumpers for OSU—but then Hamilton was back at it again.
He carved his way into the lane for another bucket and hit a 3-pointer from the left wing before James hit two free throws for a 59-49 Texas lead.
“We just put up no resistance in the second half,” Ford said. “No resistance whatsoever.”
Former Texas star Kevin Durant walked in just in time to catch Oklahoma State make its big push into the lead. The Cowboys scored the next nine points after Durant found his seat two rows behind the Texas bench, and it ended up being a 19-6 run that featured 12 points by Anderson.
His three-point play off a jumper from the right side put OSU ahead 27-16 with 5:25 left before halftime. Anderson shot 8 for 9 in the first half, making all three of his 3-pointers.
“The first half, I just tried to attack them and just tried to be as unguardable as I can,” said Anderson, who was 2 for 8 after halftime. “The second half, they kind of figured out what I was doing and tried to key in more on me.”
The Longhorns closed to 36-32 as Hamilton scored seven of the last nine points before halftime, and Texas tied it with the first four points after the break.