AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Oklahoma’s star freshman Trae Young had been off his game but was starting to find his stroke when Texas guard Matt Coleman took a pass, stepped out and swished a 3-pointer before heading back up the court and waving his hands to urge the home crowd to get on its feet.
Then came another long jumper. Then a tough layup.
Even a missed dunk fired up the crowd by the sheer aggressiveness of the move. Coleman’s burst sparked a second-half rally as Texas stormed back late and closed the game with a 22-8 run to beat the No. 12 Sooners 79-74 on Saturday.
“I see every game as a gift and an opportunity,” said Coleman, who finished with 22 points. “That was probably the turning point of the second half. We were down 10 and I felt like our sprit wasn’t great. We just needed something, a stop or block or steal or dunk or something to get us over that hump.”
Texas coach Shaka Smart leaned on his guard in a timeout to find a spark for his team.
“I told Matt if we play with spirit, we will win the game,” Smart said.
Coleman’s biggest mental test came when he made four consecutive three throws in the final two minutes. They helped clinch a victory that came after he missed three free throws late in a loss at Texas Tech just a few days earlier. Texas missed 13 free throws in that loss, but made 13 in a row in one stretch against the Sooners.
Kerwin Roach II added 19 points for Texas (15-8, 5-5 Big 12).
Young, the national scoring leader, came in averaging 30.3 points, but finished with 19 on 7-of-22 shooting and made just two 3-pointers while guarded mostly by Coleman and Roach. He also had 14 assists. The loss kept the Sooners (16-6, 6-4) from pulling into a three-way tie atop the Big 12 with Kansas and Texas Tech.
“I don’t think I got a rhythm,” Young said. “All my shots were short or long. They were all on line.”
Oklahoma was just 3 of 22 on 3-pointers as the Sooners refused to abandon their long-range attempts despite the struggles.
“I wouldn’t say it gets in our head,” Young said. “We’ve got to do what got us here.”
Young scored seven points in a flurry early in the second half that pushed the Sooners to a 50-40 lead before Coleman’s play reeled them back in. Texas forward Dylan Osetkowski’s two free throws tied the game at 66 before Young missed consecutive 3-pointers on Oklahoma’s next two possessions. Coleman made a driving layup over two defenders and another by Roach put Texas ahead by four with 3:32 to play.
Coleman had come back from the Texas Tech loss aching to make up for his late misses. He went 8 of 13 from the field with two 3-pointers and was 4-4 from the free-throw line.
“Every night since Texas Tech he’s been here late at night working on his 3-point shooting and free-throw shooting. It burns him up that teams back off of him,” Smart said.
Young continues to show he can do more than score when he runs into an unfriendly rim, and his sharp passes easily carved up a Texas defense that had eyes locked on him. Young had nine assists in the first half, most of them leading to easy dunks and layups as the Sooners scored 34 points in the paint in the half.
Young would have had more assists, but his teammates sometimes got caught watching him as well and dropped several passes for turnovers.
“He’s the best player in the country,” Smart said. “A phenomenal player. If you can hold him under 20, that’s a win.”
Texas got its third straight home win over a ranked opponent and continues to protect its home court in the rugged Big 12. The Longhorns did it despite an unusually quiet game from freshman forward Mo Bamba, who scored 13 and had nine rebounds, but didn’t provide the defensive wall the Longhorns have come to depend on. Bamba has already set the Texas season blocks record with 96 but had just one against the Sooners.
The Big 12 is slightly irregular in that rivals Oklahoma and Texas didn’t meet in the first half of the conference schedule. That means they will play their rematch in Norman in just two weeks on Feb. 17.
JONES CANCER TREATMENT
Texas guard Andrew Jones is making progress in his cancer treatment and was recently able to get out of his hospital bed, his family said Saturday. Jones was diagnosed with leukemia in early January and is currently being treated at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Teams around the Big 12 have rallied to support Jones, and a website set up by Texas for the family has raised more than $156,000.
Jones made the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Oklahoma in Austin last season.
At halftime Saturday, a message from Jones’ Twitter account said, “I would like to thank everyone for all the support and love. I’m doing a lot better and still fighting.”
Oklahoma hosts No. 15 West Virginia on Monday.
Texas hosts Kansas State on Wednesday.
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