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Sooners struggle down the stretch in loss to Texas

Jan. 23—Oklahoma held a six-point lead and all of the momentum on the heels of a 14-2 run early in the first half.

The Sooners were turning defense into offense and Jalon Moore, John Hugley IV and Javian McCollum had made several highlight-reel finishes. The 11,092 fans in attendance were at their loudest as their team entered a key stretch to end the half against rival Texas.

Coming out of a timeout, Texas forward Dylan Disu got a pass beyond the arc. The Sooners faked a double team on the Longhorns big man, but Disu was patient, using a jab step to create space before knocking down a 3-pointer.

"He's a tremendous player," OU head coach Porter Moser said about the 6-9 forward.

On their next time down the floor, the Longhorns tied the game on a 3-pointer by Brock Cunningham with 2:57 left in the first half.

The Sooners battled back to take a one-point lead into halftime, and battle back again early in the second half after giving up a 12-3 run. Still, they never regained the momentum and energy they had midway through the first half in a 75-60 loss.

Oklahoma's downfall didn't come until there was 11:16 remaining in the game, but the Longhorns run to end the first half may have been a sign of what's to come.

"I'm always saying don't let your offense dictate your defense. I think our defense dictated our offense," Moser said.

Texas guard Max Abmas hit a 3-pointer midway through the second half that stopped a 10-3 Oklahoma run. Over the final 12 minutes of game time, the Sooners would go 3-13 from the floor.

The Longhorns finished the game on an 18-6 run to hand the Sooners their fourth loss of the season.

In his postgame press conference, Moser showed clear frustration in the second half effort.

"Obviously we didn't play to our standards and you've got to give them credit, but that starts with me," he said. "I put that team out there and I thought we were ready and we looked tired in the second half."

The Sooners missed seven of their first eight shots, but finished the first half making 11 of their last 22. They only had four turnovers in the first half and eight Texas turnovers.

Moore threw down back-to-back fast break dunks to start the 12-2 run. The Sooners finished had 14 points off turnovers in the first half.

The Longhorns were also limited to just one attempt at the line in the first half, while the Sooners had 10. That was flipped in the second half as the Longhorns went to the line 17 times and made 14, while the Sooners were 5-7.

The Sooners shot 21% from behind the arc and were constantly contested at the rim due to Disu's size and athleticism.

It was Oklahoma's consecutive straight loss to Texas.

"I'm disappointed because the fans were awesome," Moser said. "I worked my ass off to get people here and that's on me. That's on me."

Abmas led all scorers with 22 points with three of his four makes from behind the arc coming in the second half. Disu wasn't far behind with 19 points on an efficent 6-10 shooting and 10 rebounds.

The senior forward only finished with one block and one steal, but was the key to the Longhorns' defensive success.

The Longhorns dominated the boards, 40-28, including a game-high 13 from Dillon Mitchell.

"I thought his defense was almost better than his offense and I thought he was elite offensively." Moser said. "I thought he played a tremendous defensive game tonight."

Up Next

The Sooners remain at home to face Texas Tech on Saturday at 1 p.m. With Tuesday's loss they fall to 3-3 in conference play and have lost three of their last five.

Oklahoma's final scheduled game against Texas as members of the Big 12 will be the season finale on Mar. 9 in Austin.

Tarik Masri is the sports editor for The Transcript covering OU athletics and area sports. You can reach him by emailing tarik@normantranscript.com