Five thoughts from Texas’ 74-69 win over Oklahoma State

Akshay Mirchandani

Longhorns nearly blow it

  • The first half of Saturday’s contest against Oklahoma State showed shades of Texas’ win over No. 17 Iowa State. The Longhorns shot 46.4 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes and held a 23-point lead with 15:16 left to play. But Texas’ offense plummeted — the Longhorns shot 33.3 percent in the second half. The Cowboys cut Texas’ lead to three at one point and outscored the Longhorns 44-34 in the final period.

“We hit a little bit of a low where we were not guarding with the same tenacity or energy,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “Oklahoma State had something to do with it. They made some nice plays.”

Balanced effort helps Texas

  • Junior guard Isaiah Taylor has put Texas on his back during Big 12 play, averaging 23.3 points in four conference games coming into Saturday. But Taylor didn’t need to do all the heavy lifting on Saturday. He ended with 18 points, but freshman guards Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis added 11 and 12 points respectively. The freshman duo helped the bench score 34 points to take the pressure off the starters.

Texas struggles from three

  • The Longhorns shot 41.9 percent from three against No. 17 Iowa State earlier in the week. But Texas nearly died by the three on Saturday — the Longhorns shot 7-of-31 from behind the arc and only made two in the second half. Texas has relied on threes a lot lately, but threes were nearly its downfall on Saturday.

“You can’t let your offense affect your defense,” Smart said. “I thought we did get a little bummed out when the ball wasn’t going in, and that affected us somewhat.”

Another thriller

  • Six of the last eight games Texas has played have been decided by five points or less, with many of them coming down to the final minute. It looked like Texas would finally end that trend when it was up 23, but Oklahoma State’s furious rally caused Texas to sweat it out near the end.

Important Big 12 win

  • The win puts Texas above .500 in Big 12 play for the first time this season at 3-2, which is big considering what the team has in front of it. The Longhorns have two-straight road games coming up against No. 11 West Virginia and No. 1 Kansas. Sitting above .500 in league play and coming off two straight wins makes that task a little less daunting.