Kabongo rallies Texas past Oklahoma, 92-86 in OTBy JIM VERTUNO, AP Sports Writer Thursday, Feb 28, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—When Oklahoma’s Amath M’Baye leaped to dunk and flashed an upside-down “Hook’em Horns” hand sign, the Sooners were in complete control of archrival Texas with a 22-point lead in the second half.
And then Texas’ Myck Kabongo took over and the Longhorns salvaged a sliver of fun in an otherwise miserable season by rallying to a wild 92-86 overtime victory Wednesday night.
Kabongo scored 31 points, fueling a rally over the final 8 minutes of regulation and sending the game to overtime with a desperation jumper over a defender at the buzzer to tie it at 77.
Then Kabongo scored Texas’ first six points in overtime as the Longhorns (13-15, 5-10 Big 12) stunned Oklahoma (18-9, 9-6) with their largest comeback in 15 years under coach Rick Barnes.
“Momentum changes,” Barnes said. “I’m sitting here thinking to myself, `What just happened?’ But it happened.”
Thanks mostly to Kabongo, who scored 24 points over the final 8 minutes of regulation and overtime, shooting 7 of 7 from the floor and 8 of 10 on free throws in that span. His 3-pointer to start overtime gave Texas its first lead since midway through the first half.
“These guys know what I’m capable of doing,” said Kabongo, who has played only five games after sitting out a 23-game NCAA-imposed suspension.
Romero Osby scored 31 for Oklahoma but missed a critical free throw at the end of regulation that would have given the Sooners a three-point lead before Kabongo’s game-tying shot. The Sooners now have lost eight in a row in Austin.
Kabongo was supposed to dribble and kick the ball to Sheldon McClellan for the final shot, but he got tied up and had to put it up himself.
“I prayed,” said Texas freshman forward Ioannis Papapetrou. “He threw it up, and he made it. I was just standing there watching it.”
Oklahoma never saw it coming when the Sooners were dominating what had been a punchless Texas team going through the motions of another loss. But M’Baye’s dunk and hand gesture—and stifling full-court defense by Texas—seemed to change everything.
“Very disappointing,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “We played well for 32 minutes, and we let it slip away. It’s going to hurt for a while. … Kabongo is terrific. He makes them a lot different—he’s an elite player, and it shows.”
Texas’ defensive pressure forced 16 Oklahoma turnovers, which the Longhorns converted into 26 points. Kabongo showed everything Texas missed while he was out of the lineup, driving to the basket, dishing out six assists and stepping outside for 3-pointers.
Sheldon McClellan added 18 points for Texas, including three free throws with 9 seconds left in regulation that got Texas within one before Osby missed one of two free throws on the other end.
Oklahoma had cruised through the first half, shooting 71 percent overall and 7 of 9 on 3-pointers. Steven Pledger scored 18 for Oklahoma on six 3-pointers but made just one in the second half.
Kabongo started overtime with his long 3-pointer, then followed it with a free throw and a tough layup that put Texas up 83-81.
McClellan made two more free throws and Papapetrou made a long 3-pointer from the left wing to put Texas ahead 88-84 with 48 seconds left.
“I’ve seen a lot of games, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like this one. I am proud of them and the way they responded because of all the things we have been through,” Barnes said.