Junior guard Isaiah Taylor and the Longhorns walked off the court having no idea what had just happened. Neither did Buddy Hield and the Sooners.
Roughly 20 minutes earlier, Texas found itself down by seven against No. 3 Oklahoma and headed to a disappointing finish.
But the baskets began to fall. One after the other. Eventually the Longhorns tied the game, but the scoring never stopped. By the time the dust settled, the Longhorns scored 22 unanswered points and left the floor as 76-63 victors Saturday afternoon.
“I didn’t know that at all,” Taylor said of the 22-0 run. “It felt good. We were getting stops, making free throws. Everybody was excited. You could kind of sense that feeling from the crowd as it got down late in the game that it was coming to a close.”
But Texas had no answer for Hield and the Sooners in the first 20 minutes of the game. After starting the contest 0-of-2, Hield knocked down his next eight shots. He finished the first half with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including four 3-pointers.
But Hield cooled off in the second half. Everything went cold for Oklahoma — and Texas pounced.
Taylor started the charge by completing an and-one situation to close the gap to four. On the other end, Hield missed a 3-pointer. Seconds later senior forward Connor Lammert hit a three of his own, drawing the Longhorns to within one and getting the sold-out Erwin Center crowd back into it.
On the next possession, Taylor attacked the rim and drew a foul on a missed dunk attempt. He made both, giving Texas its first lead since the first minute of the game.
“Our guys did a really good job of hanging in there and maintaining their composure even when we were down and things didn’t go our way,” head coach Shaka Smart said. “Our response was really good.”
The Sooners kept missing shots, and the Longhorns kept taking advantage. Texas grabbed seven defensive rebounds and pushed the ball up the court quickly. Each offensive possession ended in free throw or a made basket. With each score, the roar from the crowd pushed the noise levels rarely seen at the Erwin Center.
“It’s been a few times in my career where the Erwin Center felt like this,” junior guard Isaiah Taylor said. “The fans, the crowd, they did a great job today. They gave us a lot of energy, especially down the stretch.”
By the time Oklahoma scored again, the game was already over. Texas had the momentum, the electricity of the crowd and a 73-58 lead. But when the final horn sounded, the Longhorns didn’t partake in over-the-top celebrations. Instead, they acted like they had been there before — because they have.
“We are excited that we beat a top ten team, but beating a good team is nothing new to us,” Taylor said.