Basketball

Oklahoma State 75, Texas 67 (2OT): Longhorns unable to shoot out of Stillwater slog

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Texas may have played its worst game of the 2021-22 season. Somehow, it extended past the typical 40 minutes into double overtime. And somehow, Texas still had a chance to overcome the abysmal first 20 minutes thanks to erratic second halves from both teams.

But overtime only magnified the problems that put Texas in a hole in the early stages of the game. UT was 5-of-35 from beyond the arc and 20-of-79 from the field. They missed 17 layup attempts according to the official scorekeeper. Despite limiting OSU’s Cade Cunningham to 5-of-19 shooting, Texas fell to Oklahoma State in double-overtime, 75-67.

With a closer look at the box score, more wonder grows at how Texas was able to push this game into not one, but two overtime periods. Texas did not hit a single field goal after regulation ended, missing all three field goal attempts. The only scoring in the overtime period came as a result of four free throws from Courtney Ramey and two free throws from Kai Jones.

The Longhorns’ starting guards, Ramey, Matt Coleman, and Andrew Jones, combined to shoot 10-of-49 from the field. Jones individually was 2-of-13 from distance. Greg Brown was a non-factor, making just two field goals with one of them being a put-back dunk.

Shaka Smart’s team allowed Oklahoma State to finish the first half on a 25-6 run after they took a 23-14 lead. Cowboy head coach Mike Boynton called a thirty-second timeout with 8:21 left. From there, OSU’s Avery Anderson and Caleb Boone helped the Cowboys go on a run to take a 35-29 halftime lead.

The Longhorns worked to recover in the second half thanks to efforted defense on Oklahoma State’s Cunningham. At a certain point, UT’s Brock Cunningham wanted his share of the spotlight. Brock Cunningham was all over the floor in the final minutes of the game accounting for three points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block in the second period.

When he found his rhythm on defense, Andrew Jones began to find himself inside the arc on offense. He was three-of-five from two and was part of 12-1 run that helped Texas re-take the lead with 13:08 in the second half.

From there, it was a back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth game. Neither team opened up greater than a five-point lead in the second half. The teams were tied five times in the final 11 minutes, including with 53 seconds left following a bucket by the Cowboys’ Cunningham.

Each team had opportunities to make the game-winner. UT’s Cunningham even tried to gift a bucket to OSU’s Cunningham with four seconds remaining. It wouldn’t be converted, and the game was sent into overtime.

As mentioned, Texas couldn’t hit a single shot. Eventually, the Longhorns ran out of gas and chances, and once OSU’s Cunningham hit a three-pointer with 1:40 left, the game was thrust out of the Longhorns’ reach.

Despite the recent COVID pause, it’s difficult to find reason behind the Longhorns’ stunningly terrible offensive performance. Outside of Cunningham, Oklahoma State is not filled with offensive weapons. Yet two other Cowboys in addition to Cunningham scored more than 15 points, including Kalib Boone’s game-high 22.

Three Longhorns reached double-figures in a double-overtime game, Kai Jones, Andrew Jones, and Courtney Ramey. Ramey’s 13 was boosted by an 8-of-8 night at the line. Kai Jones was 4-of-6 from the stripe. Andrew Jones hit all five of his free throws.

Without those stopped-clock shots, which Texas hit at a strong rate in Stillwater, this game isn’t even close.

Now, Texas looks to rebound from an all-too-familiar-looking losing streak during the second portion of the season. Texas is on the precipice of losing four games in a row for the third time during the Smart era if they drop their next game.

Against a bad Kansas State team, that seems unlikely. And it’s worth noting that the other two losses came against teams currently ranked in the top 10 in Baylor and Oklahoma.

This loss to Oklahoma State is an outlier due to the quality of opponent but is reminiscent of results from several Smart teams at Texas.

The next opportunity comes on Tuesday. Something will have to be different, or else things will look about the same as they usually do for Texas basketball under Smart.

Cover photo courtesy of Texas basketball