Norman, OK – The Oklahoma Sooners scrape by the Texas Longhorns 69-67 thanks to Jamal Bieniemy blocking a game-winning three at the buzzer.
“I thought Jamal [Bieniemy] battled him [Matt Coleman] really well. It was a big-time block,” head coach Lon Kruger said after the game.
Besides sealing the game with a block, Bieniemy had 8 of the teams 13 assists. Although he was held to just 2 points, Bieniemy was a deciding factor on both ends of the floor down the stretch.
Offensively, Oklahoma had three players in double-digits.
Sophomore, Brady Manek dropped 12 points on the Longhorns along with 5 rebounds and an assist.
Junior, Kristian Doolittle battled all game with Longhorns Jaxson Hayes and Dylan Osetkowski. Doolittle’s 15 points allowed the Sooners to spread the floor, allowing Doolittle to battle Texas’ bigs.
Senior, Christian James led all scorers with 19 points on 7-16 shooting. James was feeling it early, hitting his first three 3-pointers. Two rebounds shy of a double-double, James crashed the defensive boards with authority.
Once down 17 points, Texas kept chipping away at the Sooners lead, outscoring the Sooners 39-27 in the second half.
Coach Kruger said that the Sooners played “30 minutes” of good basketball, hoping that the last 10 minutes would go by faster.
Much like this season, Oklahoma looked like a different team in the first half.
The Sooners held Texas to 33.3% shooting while shooting 56.7% offensively.
In the second half, the Sooners tried to continue their shooting prowess but came back down to Earth, shooting 39.3% after halftime.
“It’s human nature to feel pretty good about where you at halftime,” Kruger said.
Coming out of the locker room, the Sooners did well initially. The last ten or so minutes of the game are what really tested Oklahoma.
The Sooners absorbed punches and continued to play defense, forcing a shot clock violation on Texas’ second to last possession of the game.
With a win, Oklahoma’s NCAA Tournament
stay afloat until Monday. The Sooners head up to Ames to face the Iowa Cyclones on Big Monday.