By Michael Kinney
With wins over West Virginia and Kansas in past couple of weeks, Oklahoma is starting to earn a reputation as a giant killer. Both teams were ranked inside the top 10 when the Sooners pulled ff the upset.
OU had a chance to add to their resume of upsets Tuesday when they traveled to Austin to take on No. 5 Texas.
After leading by 11 points at halftime, the Sooners held on late for the 80-79 victory.
Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger was asked if his Sooners are starting to be the team he thought they could be when the season began.
“It’s just a work in progress every year,” Kruger said. “This year probably more so because we didn’t have the scrimmages, didn’t have the exhibition games. We didn’t have that opportunity to explore a little bit. It was a little bit more uncertain about everything when conference play started. They are trusting each other, communicating better.”
Austin Reaves led Oklahoma with 23 points and six rebounds. De’Vion Harmon added 13 points and six boards.
Despite Oklahoma having four players reach double figures in points, the game came down to the final seconds.
Reaves hot a pair of clutch free throws with just 18.3 seconds on the clock to give the Sooners a three point advantage. Texas responded with two free throws from Andrew Jones.
The Longhorns almost came up with a forced turnover on an inbound pass before fouling the Sooner’s Jalen Hill with 2.3 seconds left.
Hill missed his first free throw, then intentionally missed his second but failed to hit the rim, giving Texas the ball. The Sooners (10-4, 6-3) then intercepted a long pass to end the game, sending Texas (11-3, 5-2) to its second Big 12 home loss. The Sooners have won four in a row.
Texas played without coach Shaka Smart, who announced Monday he has COVID-19 and is in isolation from the team. UT was also without players Courtney Ramey, Jericho Sims and Brock Cunningham.
Oklahoma will face another top-10 team Saturday when they host No. 9 Alabama in Lloyd Noble Center at 11 a.m.
“From the start we honestly thought we could be this team,” Reaves said. “And we still have a lot of things to improve on. But we’ve always thought we could be this good. And better.”
Michael Kinney Media
Photo Credit Stephen Spillman