The Sooners melted down in epic proportion Wednesday evening at the Erwin Center, coughing up a 22-point lead with less than eight minutes to play and falling 92-86 in overtime to the Texas Longhorns.
”It was a very disappointing result,” said OU head coach Lon Kruger. “We played really good basketball for 32 minutes of the game then everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. We certainly contributed to the last seven minutes of the game. I credit Texas for making big plays, they stayed on the attack and did the right things. I am disappointed that we let this one slip away. We have to get through it even though it is going to hurt for a while.”
OU appeared to be in complete command until Texas sprinted onto a 25-4 run shortly after Sooner forward Amath M’Baye completed an alley-oop and threw the Horns down, drawing boos from the crowd with 7:54 remaining.
Texas guard Myck Kabongo eventually capped off the ridiculous comeback when he nailed a running jumper at the buzzer to send the game into extra time.
”The play was for Sheldon [McClellan],” Kabongo said. “It was supposed to be a dribble hand off, but that was closed. We needed to make a play and I made a play at the end and it went in.”
Texas outscored OU 15-9 in overtime, taking the lead for good on Kabongo’s layup with 2:14 to go.
The Sooners commanded the game most of the way, leading by double digits for more than half of regulation—22 minutes and 21 seconds, to be exact—before melting down in crunch time.
Simply put, though, they just couldn’t seal the deal.
Sharpshooting guard Steven Pledger keyed a 3-point shooting barrage in the first half that helped them leap out to a 43-28 lead at intermission.
He drained five trifectas in that frame, part of a 7-for-9 OU performance in the opening 20 minutes.
That included a key 17-0 run, boosted by a trio of triples from Pledger and one from M’Baye, plus a three-point play from Cameron Clark to turn what was a two-point deficit into a 31-16 lead at the time.
But that went all for naught, as the Longhorns forced OU into turnover after turnover that completely changed the complexion of the game down the stretch./p>
”We did not take care of the ball,” said OU point guard Sam Grooms. “We have to crack down with full court press. They were active, got some loose balls and some steals that led to points for them.”
Forward Romero Osby led the Sooners with 31 points on 9-for-13 shooting, as well as 13-of-17 from the charity stripe.
But it was Kabongo who led all scorers with 32 points, while McClellan scored 17 and guard DeMarcus Holland added 10.
Pledger and M’Baye finished with 18 and 16, respectively, for OU.
The Sooners (18-9, 9-6 Big 12) will try to get back on track when they host Iowa State at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Lloyd Noble Center.
Follow me at twitter.com/joeyhelmer10 or facebook.com/joeyhelmer.