Kabongo explodes down the stretch, scores career-high 31 in biggest comeback win in Barnes era

Christian Corona

First Half

When Texas traveled to Norman last month, it only lost by six points. And for the better of the first half in Wednesday’s game, the Longhorns kept the game close again. They took a 16-14 lead on the Sooners before OU’s Steven Pledger knocked down three three-pointers during a 17-0 Oklahoma run. Pledger hit his first five attempts from beyond the arc and scored 15 points in the first half for the Sooners, who went into halftime with a 43-28 lead over Texas.

Second Half

A 15-4 run gave Oklahoma a 67-45 lead with a little less than eight minutes to play. But Myck Kabongo scored 11 points during a 13-0 Texas run of its own, cutting the Sooners lead to nine points. The Longhorns continued to chip away as Sheldon McClellan’s three-pointer with 1:11 to go and three free throws in the final minute made it a one-point game. With Texas trailing, 77-75, Kabongo went the length of the floor and threw up an off-balance prayer. It somehow went down and the Longhorns, once down by 22 points, were in the midst of their fifth overtime game this year.


Texas won the tip and Kabongo hit a three-pointer on its first overtime possession. The Longhorns never trailed in the extra period. Amath M’Baye’s trey at the 1:19 mark made things interesting but Ioannis Papapetrou answered with a three-pointer of his own on the ensuing possession as Texas cruised to a six-point victory.

Stock Up

Myck Kabongo: In fifth game since returning from his suspension, the sophomore scored a career-high 31 points, 24 of them after the 7:38 mark in the second half. After scoring more than 20 points just once in his first 37 games, he’s topped the 20-point mark in his last two games. As impressive as his acrobatic fadeaway was at the end of regulation, the way he played down the stretch was why he had a chance to send the game to overtime. Once he did that, he continued to dominate, scoring the Longhorns’ first six points in the extra period.

Demarcus Holland: He scored 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting but his block of Steven Pledger with 1:33 remaining in regulation was a huge play. McClellan hit a three-pointer on the next possession before Kabongo went on to send the game to overtime and lead Texas to a thrilling victory. The 22-point margin the Longhorns overcame marked their biggest comeback win in the Rick Barnes era.

What’s Next

Texas travels to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Longhorns fell to the Cowboys, 72-59 in their last meeting Feb. 9, which was the last time they played without Kabongo.