Disu, Morris lead Texas past Oklahoma State in Big 12 tournament quarterfinals

Payne Williams, Sports Desk Editor

No. 2 seed Texas advanced to the Big 12 tournament semifinals after a variety of Longhorns helped defeat No. 7 seed Oklahoma State, 61-47 on Thursday in Kansas City.

The win comes on the heels of a dominant first half from senior forward Dylan Disu, freshman guard Arterio Morris and the Longhorn defense as a whole.

Both teams endured a lengthy scoring drought midway through the first half before the Longhorns could pull it together offensively, but once they did, it was all burnt orange. More than four minutes passed without a single field goal for either team, but Texas began to stretch its lead after forcing a streak of Oklahoma State turnovers, giving Texas a nine-point advantage at halftime.

At the nine-minute mark in the first half, the Texas defense began to smother Oklahoma State as it forced five turnovers over a two-minute period. Graduate guard Sir’Jabari Rice, who earned his first start of the season in lieu of an injured Timmy Allen, forced a foul on the other end, allowing for two easy points. Rice led the Longhorns in scoring with 15 over the stretch.

Texas would force four more turnovers, including steals by Morris and graduate guard Marcus Carr along with a 10-second violation that came as a result of tight, full-court defense.

On the offensive end, Disu was an efficient 4-of-4 from the field and was a force near the basket as he recorded six first-half rebounds against an Oklahoma State frontcourt that had a steep size advantage. Disu finished the game matching his point total in rebounds with 11, earning a double-double in the process.

“I think Disu’s confidence has been extremely high. Early in Big 12 play, he was a great rim protector for us, he’s one of the best shot-blockers in this league,” interim head coach Rodney Terry said. “And then his scoring kicked in, and that’s all predicated on how much work he’s put in this season.”

Morris, who averages under five points per game, scored 10 in the first half, which included two 3-pointers and an elevating dunk off a forced Texas turnover.

Sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter was also successful from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes, shooting 2-of-2 from deep. The Longhorns’ lead never dipped below seven after halftime.

Texas has a quick turnaround as it faces No. 6 seed TCU tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. Terry said there’s no firm return date for Allen, who suffered a leg injury during the regular season finale vs. Kansas.

“(Allen) is getting better, but we’ll put him back out there when the opportunity presents itself,” Terry said. “It’s a day-to-day situation.”