Who were those guys?
Just when Texas looked like it would fade once again late in a game, it didn’t. Instead, the Longhorns played with the most intensity they have displayed the entire season while overcoming a 22-point second-half deficit to defeat Oklahoma in overtime, 92-86, the biggest comeback in head coach Rick Barnes’ tenure.
“We got aggressive, starting making some shots and the momentum changed,” Barnes said. “I’m sitting there thinking to myself, ‘what just happened?’”
With the Longhorns (13-15, 5-10) down two points with less than seven seconds left in the game, Myck Kabongo drove the length of the court without calling a timeout and hit perhaps the biggest shot of his career. Kabongo’s remarkable shot from the hip sent the game to overtime and awoke what was left of a sleepy Wednesday night crowd at the Frank Erwin Center.
“The play was for Sheldon [McClellan] actually,” said Kabongo, who spoke to the media for the first time this season after the game. “We needed to make a play and I just made it. It just happened to go in and it felt good when it left my hand.”
Only a game removed from a career-high 24-point showing against Kansas State, Kabongo led Texas in scoring again with 31 points. The sophomore engineered a 13-0 Texas run halfway through the second half, scoring 11 of those points and assisting on the only other bucket made by Jonathan Holmes. In each of the five games since his return from suspension, Kabongo has reached double figures in scoring, with the Longhorns winning three of those games. After scoring just three points in the first half, Kabongo went on to hit 8-of-11 shots in the second half and overtime to lift Texas to victory.
“That was good for Myck,” McLellan said. “He deserved it.”
Entering the game, the Sooners (18-9, 9-6) had lost their last seven games at the Frank Erwin Center, a streak dating back to 2005.
This time out the Sooners seemed determined to end their losing streak, wasting no time knocking down open shot after open shot in the first half. At the intermission the Sooners were shooting over 70 percent and were well on their way to another win over the Longhorns.
“Whenever you’re down, you have to play like it’s an emergency,” Kabongo said. “What really helped us was the fans. It was great to see the Erwin Center loud like that. We need this to be an intimidating place to place for us to win.”
Said Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger: “[Kabongo’s] really tough to guard, especially late in the game.”