No. 23 Texas ekes out 56-51 win in rematch against Oklahoma State

Christina Huang, Sports Reporter

Back on Jan. 8, No. 23 Texas dropped their third conference game of the season to the Oklahoma State Cowboys 64-51. But today, Texas went on a redemption run, winning 56-51.

Texas came out firing Saturday, with all five starters scoring within the first five minutes of the game. Junior forward Tre Mitchell, who was out during the last game against Oklahoma State, opened scoring with a 3-pointer.

But Texas’ hot start was not a shock to Mike Boynton, Oklahoma State’s head coach.

“I wasn’t surprised that they started off the game as well as they did,” Boynton said after the game. “I was more surprised that we didn’t respond before the timeout.”

But after the timeout, the Cowboys responded fiercely.

Boynton’s team went on a run of its own, holding Texas scoreless for 10 minutes and taking a 27-25 lead at the half. Oklahoma State gained 12 points off of Texas’ turnovers by halftime. It was a game plan Texas knew all too well: On Jan. 8, the Cowboys netted 18 points total off of turnovers.

Despite the turnovers, the main narrative of the afternoon was the defensive skill.

Oklahoma State’s roster is filled with defensive leaders in the Big 12. Junior guard Avery Anderson III is third in the conference for steals per game. Sophomore forward Moussa Cisse and junior forward Kalib Boone are first and second in the Big 12 for blocks per game, respectively.

Statistician Evan Miyakawa ranks Oklahoma State’s defense as the 17th best in the country. Texas is close behind at No. 20.

Although Texas does not house any defensive stat leaders, the Longhorns came up with clutch defensive plays of their own. Senior guard Courtney Ramey came up with a monster block in the last six minutes of the game while Oklahoma State was down by seven. Ramey’s play led to a Cowboys’ foul that sent Texas to the free-throw line.

The defense was also reflected in the final score. Texas scored just 56 points, matching a similar season-low 51 points against the Cowboys on Jan. 8, while Oklahoma State matched its previous season-low of 51.

The defensively-dominated game came to a fitting end when junior forward Brock Cunningham nabbed a steal with four seconds of play remaining, sealing the win for Texas.

Although the game was not a shootout, the Longhorns still had four players score in double digits. Senior guard Marcus Carr scored 14 points, an improvement from his last performance against Oklahoma State. The Toronto product only put up four points against the Cowboys earlier this month.

Although Texas had 20 turnovers and shot 28.6% from the 3-point line, head coach Chris Beard seemed satisfied with the win.

“To be down at half and really go out and win the game in the last 20 minutes was a great sign, lesson and experience for our players,” Beard said.