Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Tyrese Hunter leads Texas to sweep of Oklahoma in regular season closer

Lorianne Willett
Tyrese Hunter goes for a layup during Texas’ game against Oklahoma on Saturday. The Longhorns defeated the Sooners 94-80 during their last home game of the season.

Amid a season where Texas’ performance on any given night is a coin toss, the Longhorns came up heads on Saturday, drubbing Oklahoma 94-80 on Senior Day in their regular season closer to complete the season sweep and bounce back from an emotional loss to Baylor. Behind solid defense, top-to-bottom rotation contributions and, above all, a Tyrese Hunter legacy game, Texas never trailed and is finding its identity entering tournament play.

The Sooners struggled to find a rhythm early, missing their first eight three-pointers, but connected on four of their next five to make it a one-point game with under five minutes to go in the first half. However, the Longhorns closed the half on a 13-9 run to push the score back to 40-35 through 20 minutes.

Texas opened the second half with a quick eight points to extend the lead to 13 points and only kept its foot on the gas largely behind the play of junior guard Tyrese Hunter. On an off day from graduate guard Max Abmas, who came crashing down to Earth after a 33-point night against Baylor, Hunter stole the show, erupting for a career-high 30 points, alongside seven assists and three steals. He played 19 of 20 minutes in the second half in perhaps his finest performance as a Longhorn.

“First of all, it’s March, you know?” Hunter said. “You’ve got to come up with wins around March, survive and advance. Today was a big one for the guys, for us, the program, last one in the Moody (Center) for the year. I was just pumped up all the way around, for me, it just gives me confidence, like I said my confidence never goes away.”

Oklahoma clawed back from what was at one point a 21-point second-half deficit, trimming the lead down to 12 on a 13-6 run with just over three minutes to play, but back-to-back steals and transition buckets from Abmas and Hunter in the final minutes helped the home team to shut the door.

Any worries regarding the health of Dylan Disu were swiftly assuaged, as the graduate forward helped to spark a flat Texas offense in the first half in a 16-point outing. 

Texas’ defense, which has made meaningful strides over the past few weeks, continues to round into form, holding the Sooners to 46.7% shooting, generating 14 turnovers and allowing just eight fastbreak points.

“Hardest thing to do in this league is try to go five-on-five against the defenses that you face in this league every night,” Texas head coach Rodney Terry said. “I think we’ve been playing some of our best basketball right now at the right time of year, to be honest.”

In his final home game, graduate forward Brock Cunningham earned a start and posted a titular Brock Cunningham stat line with six points, six assists, five rebounds and four fouls in a bounce-back performance. With roughly two minutes to play and the victory in hand, he, Disu, Abmas and graduate guard Ithiel Horton checked out for the last time in the Moody Center to a standing ovation.

Having all but locked up a berth in the NCAA Tournament as the likely No. 8 or No. 9 seed, Texas will turn its focus to repeating as Big 12 Champions. The Longhorns will play Wednesday in Kansas City with a potential rematch versus Oklahoma on tap.

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About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.