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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball: OU falls short in Austin, 75-72.

Jamal Bieniemy’s second half surge isn’t enough to overcome the balanced effort from the Longhorns.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Texas Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma Sooners finally got going after another slow start in the first half, but the comeback effort in the second half ultimately wasn’t enough to get the job done, losing 75-72 to the Texas Longhorns. OU is now 13-5 on the season, 2-4 in Big 12 play.

With the loss, the Sooners now haven’t won a Big 12 road game in their last 11 tries, and haven’t beaten the Longhorns in Austin since 2015. After the Sooners were drubbed on their home court by Kansas State, Lon Kruger made a couple significant changes to the starting five, moving freshman Jamal Bieniemy and Rashard Odomes into the opening lineup in place of Aaron Calixte and Jamuni McNeace. It’s tough to gauge how much the changes affected the team given the small sample size, but in time, that should become clearer as the season wears on.

In the first half, Oklahoma struggled mightily on offense, at one point going nearly six minutes without scoring. During that same stretch, Texas, and specifically Kerwin Roach, went on an 11-0 run, pushing the Longhorns ahead for the remainder of the half. UT led by as many as 10 points, but a Christian James three-pointer at the halftime buzzer cut the Sooners’ deficit to five.

In the second half, the scoring pace picked up on both ends of the court, and James picked up where he left off at the end of the first half. Odomes and Bieniemy, both players who were inserted into the starting lineup, combined for 22 points, with 18 of those points coming in the final twenty minutes. The Sooners eventually surged ahead by as many as four, then it became a back and forth battle into the final minute.

The Longhorns’ Jaxson Hayes missed a key free throw with 10 seconds to go in regulation, but the Sooners missed two three-point opportunities to tie the contest up in the final moments.

Up next, Oklahoma takes on another rival in enemy territory. On Wednesday, January 23rd, OU takes on Oklahoma State (8-10, 2-4) in Stillwater for round two of the 2019 Bedlam series. In the first meeting, the Sooners took care of business in Norman, 74-64. Since then, coach Mike Boynton has dismissed three players from the team, leaving the Cowboys with eight scholarship players remaining on the roster. Kruger’s squad should be favored heading into the matchup, but like most games in this in-state series, the final outcome will likely come down to which team plays with more motivation.

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