AUSTIN, Texas – In front of the biggest audience at the Erwin Center this season, Texas Longhorns No. 21 recovered from an unsatisfactory performance over the weekend and passed an impressive win over the Oklahoma Sooners 66:52 on Tuesday.
In a rivalry that has often been defined in recent seconds by Texas hits, the Longhorns’ 14-point gain was their biggest in the series since 2011.
Texas senior guard Andrew Jones continued his strong game against Oklahoma, scoring a seasonal maximum of 22 points when shooting 7 of 15 from the field and 6 of 7 shots from the free throw line, one of the best performances of his career. . It wasn’t even one-dimensional – Jones used pre-match survey reports to a good result by coming up with four thefts and reviving his recurring athletics with a transition block that electrified the home crowd.
“We’ve come a long way, man – people are asking Andrew Jones for a defense during press conferences.” That’s great, “joked Texas head coach Chris Beard.
Jones, who is now more distant from his regular treatment, is starting to feel like his old self again.
“It’s just a good feeling to be fit, to play freely – I felt free there, running, jumping and playing sports, I let my game come back to the way it used to be, so it was fun.”
However, offensive contributions were important, especially in the second half after Texas went through a long period, during which the Longhorns scored only one goal from the field in seven minutes after taking the 20-point lead.
With 4:27 left and the lead dropped to 12 points, Jones pushed through with a big shot basket late in the hour of the shot, then ended up in color again on a good find by senior guard Marcus Carr, giving Sooners a break. and cordial “OU sucks” from fans at the Erwin Center. Not to mention the celebratory push of Beard.
“Just take on a personality and let the relationship begin to come true,” Jones said of the exchange with his head coach. “Especially when you start playing well and start understanding what both coaches and players want from each other, you will find a balance where we can win some matches.”
Jones received a lot of support at both ends of the court.
On the defensive, Texas noticed that Oklahoma players tended to leave their feet in the pass, so they took advantage of this by 11 thefts, which contributed to the 10 points of the quick break.
Elder forward Christian Bishop had three of these thefts, including an end-of-game diving in which Jones challenged the crowd to his feet, and another notable defensive effort when he stepped on guard, stayed in front of Oklahoma, and then crossed. on a large and blocked shot to force a violation of the hours of the shot.
Texas also managed to reduce Sooners star striker Tanner Groves, who entered the game as the team’s top scorer with 14.3 points per game. Although Groves got into trouble that helped him limit time to 16 minutes, 10 below average, he tried only one field left with 9:37 to reduce the lead to 15 points. Groves finished the match with three points, three substitutions, two rebounds and three fouls.
The perimeter defenses were also effective, as Texas limited Oklahoma’s top three-point scorer, Umoja Gibson’s keeper, to one in three and the Sooners to 1 in 13 shots from behind the arc.
“The lucky thing is that they missed a nice look tonight, but I think you also have to praise our guys, some of whom were attacked,” Beard said.
In the offensive, the buzzword for Texas that came into play was aggression after failing to record a first-throw free throw attempt against Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
How did the word go until the end of Tuesday’s press conference? Beard dived into his famous thesaurus, looking for an alternative, eventually agreeing with assertiveness.
Call it aggression or assertiveness, the result was much needed – Texas first reached the free throw line at 17:21 of the first half and never slowed down, especially when no shots fell in the middle of the second half. .
The Longhorns ended up with 24 attempts and maintained Beard’s benchmark – more free throws than the opponent’s free throws – until the time the Sooners got into the bonus and Beard’s team lost some of their situational awareness.
The biggest key? One of Beard’s coaching points is demanding fouls.
“I know these officials are really good at this level,” Beard said. “If you want to get a foul, you have to get it, you have to ask for it.” You won’t get a foul from one leg, you won’t make a foul fall out of the basket – I thought we had the last few matches – but tonight, from where I sat before we watched the movie, I thought we demanded it and we obviously got on the verge of a criminal throw tonight. “
A balanced offensive over Jones helped this effort, as senior guard Courtney Ramey scored 10 points in six free throw attempts and Carr received praise from his head coach for playing on the dance floor after scoring nine points and scoring five assists. Senior forward Timmy Allen was solid as always with 10 points and Bishop added 10 points and eight rebounds in his excellent all-round effort.
As the moves adapt to the realities of Big 12, Beard believes his team has gone through a learning curve that has shifted from knowing the level of intensity necessary to win and leave and doing so on a regular basis.
So Tuesday’s win against Oklahoma may have been the Texas team’s first real conference victory. At least it was historic, except that it provided a plan to move forward.