Five Texas players — Marcus Carr, Sir’Jabari Rice, Timmy Allen, Brock Cunningham and Dylan Disu — scored in double figures on Saturday, as No. 6 Texas edged past Oklahoma 85-83 in overtime. That quintet includes three graduate students and two seniors, and the Horns needed every bit of that experience to overcome a spirited Sooners team.
Three Texas players — Carr, Rice, and senior forward Allen — average more than ten points on the season. A fourth, Tyrese Hunter, is putting up 9.7 a game. The Longhorns’ ability to share the scoring burden means that opposing defenses can’t target their defensive efforts on a specific player.
“They just have a lot of guys who can contribute,” Oklahoma head coach Porter Moser said, “(If certain guys aren’t on, other(s are).”
Texas’ veteran scorers stepped up when they were needed most, cutting Oklahoma runs to an end and making tough buckets.
Eight of graduate forward Cunningham’s 10 points came in a little more than a minute during the first half, creating momentum and firing the Moody Center crowd up during a stop-start period.
“Brock was tremendous,” Texas’ acting head coach Rodney Terry said. “He willed us into that halftime break.”
Graduate guard Rice paced Texas with a game-high 24, including two crucial three pointers with less than six minutes left to give Texas a 70-67 lead. Those buckets underpinned a 9-0 run that helped the Horns come back from a six point deficit at the under-six mark.
“Rice is one of the most unheralded players in this league. He made the big (shots),” Moser said.
This isn’t the first time that Rice has stepped up when it matters — his free throws helped Texas close out wins at No. 7 Kansas State and versus No. 11 Baylor at home. His 24 points today tie a season-high for the New Mexico State transfer.
After a deep, contested Grant Sherfield three tied the game 73-all at triple zeros, Texas came out strong in overtime. Two fastbreak layups from graduate guard Carr gave Texas a six point lead, which the Horns held on to through the five minute period.
“The team that … sets the tone in overtime … really finds a way to get it done and I thought we did that,” Terry said.
Texas has six players — five of whom put up 10+ today — with 100 or more college games under their belt. As games tighten during February and March, this familiarity will help the Longhorns ease nerves and stay composed in the Big 12 run-in and postseason play.
“These guys have played a lot of games,” Terry said, adding,” (They’ve) done a great job of knowing what they’re playing for right now.”
In elimination games, rotations traditionally shorten. But as Texas gears up for March, Terry can call on as deep of a team as any team in the nation.