Well, that was wild. The Oklahoma Sooners enacted some Red River revenge over the Texas Longhorns, beating the burnt orange crew, 69-67. With the win, Lon Kruger’s team improved to 17-10 on the season, 5-9 in Big 12 play.
Aside from the excitement on the court, Heisman Trophy winner and Big 12 Champion Kyler Murray was also in the building on Saturday with said trophy in hand. It was a pretty cool moment for the fans in attendance as K1 prepares for the upcoming NFL Combine beginning next week.
Murray wasn’t the only Sooner royalty in the house. Buddy Hield was also in attendance as the Sacramento Kings are slated to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder later in the evening.
During the non-conference portion of the 2018-19 schedule, Christian James was a scoring machine, but since conference play began, he’s mostly been a shell of his former self. On Saturday, he looked like vintage CJ from the start of the season. For the game, James shot 7-16 from the field for 19 points, including 4-8 from three-point territory.
In the first half, both the Sooners and the Longhorns came out of the gates in a straight sprint. The pace really never let up for the entirety of the game, but it was flowing at a scintillating rate to start the game. Oklahoma was able to create separation on the scoreboard midway through the opening half by way of smart defensive rotations and an emphasis on scoring in the paint. OU led by as many as 17, and by the break was in complete control with a dominating 42-28 advantage.
In the second half, Oklahoma picked up where it left off, keeping Texas and its comeback efforts at bay for a short while. Then the Sooners’ offense began to stall out like it has so many times before this season. Not only that, the Longhorns made big shot after big shot to methodically cut into their deficit. The once 17-point lead was trimmed to as close as two points in the final stages of the game. With a chance to either tie or win at the buzzer, freshman Jamal Bieniemy rose to the occasion and told the Longhorns “nope”, as he laid UT’s hope of a comeback to rest with this incredible block.
Up next, Oklahoma travels to Ames to take on Iowa State on Monday, February 25th. The Sooners lost the first meeting of the season between these two in Norman by a single point, though the final score of the game was quite controversial in the aftermath of the game. The Cyclones have maintained themselves as one of the better squads in the Big 12, but at Hilton Coliseum, the magic has seemingly run dry, as ISU has dropped its last two home contests in upset fashion. However, OU’s recent history in that building certainly doesn’t bode well. With a win, OU could start to build some serious momentum and add a major win to the resumé as the regular season winds down.
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