Men’s basketball rally falls short, Longhorns fall at home to Oklahoma, 80-79

27 Jan By
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Forward Kai Jones scored 15 points and pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, but it was not enough as the Texas men's basketball team lost at home to Oklahoma, 80-79, Tuesday (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

AUSTIN, Texas — Oklahoma guard Austin Reaves scored a game-high 23 points, two of which came on free throws with 18.3 seconds remaining, to lead the No. 24 Sooners to an 80-79 win over No. 5 Texas Tuesday at the Frank Erwin Center.

The loss, UT’s second in its last three games, dropped the Longhorns’ record to 11-3 overall, and 5-2 against Big 12 teams. OU improved to 10-4 overall, and 6-3 in games against conference opponents.

Texas played without head coach Shaka Smart, who sat out because of COVID-19 protocols. In addition, three UT players were unavailable for the shorthanded Longhorns: guard Courtney Ramey, forward Jericho Sims and forward Brock Cunningham.

Forwards Kai Jones and Greg Brown led five Longhorns who scored in double figures, with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Jones also had a career-high 10 rebounds, giving him the first double-double of his career. Brown’s performance was his ninth double-digit scoring performance in 13 career games.

The other Longhorns guards Andrew Jones and Matt Coleman, who tallied 13 points apiece, and Donovan Williams, who added a season-high 11.

For Kai Jones, Tuesday’s performance amounted to a career game. He shot 5-of-11 from the floor, and hit 4-of-6 from the free throw line. He also had a career-high three assists, two steals and two blocked shots in a career-high 37 minutes.

The game was the Longhorns’ first in 10 days; their previous two contests — Jan. 20 at Iowa State and Jan. 23 at TCU — were postponed because of COVID-19 protocols.

The shorthanded Horns had to play catch-up in their effort to knock off the Sooners. OU led, 43-34, at halftime, and by as many as 11 points in the second half before Texas stormed back, thanks in large part to much-improved shooting after the intermission. In the first half, Texas shot 38.9 percent from the floor, but connected on half of its 30 field goals in the second half to get back into the game. 

The Longhorns return to action when they travel to Lexington, Ky., to face Kentucky in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30., at Rupp Arena. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN.