As Oklahoma’s Khadeem Lattin pulled in the defensive rebound off a Kerwin Roach missed layup and hit a free throw to extend the Sooners’ lead to 5 with 17 seconds to play in the game, Texas fans angrily left the Frank Erwin Center feeling a sense of DÃ©jÃ vu with Texas’ capability to pull meltdowns out of thin air.
However, when Eric Davis Jr. sunk a three with 11 seconds left to cut the lead back to 2, Longhorn fans stopped in their tracks, and rerouted to the TV around the concession stands.
The score was 81-83, Sooners lead.
Texas quickly fouls Oklahoma’s Kameron McGusty, a career 82.9% free throw shooter.
McGusty misses the front end of the free throws. If they make one, Texas needs a 3 to tie and go to overtime.
McGusty misses the second free throw. Two will tie the game.
Andrew Jones grabs the defensive rebound. 10 seconds left. He dribbles the ball down the court. Longhorn fans and announcers are screaming, go for the hoop. 7 seconds left.
Andrew Jones dribbles to the right side of the arc. 4 seconds left.
Andrew Jones throws up a rainbow from 26 feet away. Longhorn fans simultaneously yell, “NO!”
Swish. 1.8 seconds left.
“When it left my hand, it felt real good,” said Jones
That’s the tail of the last 19 seconds of the Longhorns wild 84-83 win over their Red River Rival, the Oklahoma Sooners, on Monday night.
However, there was a game before those final 19 seconds. In fact, Texas was in control for the majority of the contest and even led by double digits five different times during the second half. With 5 minutes left in the game, Kendall Yancy fouled out and Texas was down to 7 scholarship players. During those last 5 minutes of the game, Texas went into meltdown mode as they allowed the Sooners to outscore them 16-5 with the help of 3 costly turnovers and a lot of missed shots.
Before this, the team was on fire. They started off both halves with immense energy, jumping out to a 9 point lead in the first half before going on a stretch of in which they let the Sooners back in the game. In the second half the Longhorns started off with an 10-1 run to set the tone. But sloppy play from both teams allowed Oklahoma to claw right back into the game over and over again.
Shaq Cleare had a monster game and was Shaka Smart’s player of the game. He tallied a career high 23 points and 8 rebounds (5 offensive). He could not be stopped as he overpowered Oklahoma’s Lattin and Kristian Doolittle (who also had 29 points). He had the magic touch as it just seemed as if everything he shot went in.
Eric Davis Jr. was right behind him, with his own career high of 18 points and shooting 5-10 from 3-point land including the clutch three with 11 seconds left to give the Longhorns a shot of hope.
Not to mention the hero of the game, Andrew Jones, went off for 16 points with a pair of dunks, 3 crucial steals, and 8 rebounds. Fellow SG/PG Kerwin Roach also had himself a game with 8 assists and 11 points.
Even Jarrett Allen had himself a few points, as he posted his 8th double-double of the year. Allen struggled from the floor, shooting 3-13 and being doubled up on the entire second half, Allen still managed to pick up 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Despite very sloppy play by both teams, Texas had control of this game most of the time and should have won with ease. Time and time again the Longhorns will follow up an amazing stretch of plays with lackluster play filled with mistakes, which allows the other team to claw their way back in. Fortunately for the Longhorns, the blend of a clutch play mixed with luck and a lot of skill saved them from dropping a 10-point lead to their rivals and their 6th straight loss.
“We finally ended our drought and beat OU,” Andrew Jones said as the Longhorns move to 2-5 in games decided by 3 points or less.
It was ugly and Texas almost lost, but the fan next to me said it best. “Any game where Texas beats Oklahoma is a good game.”