The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611) -- Stillwater, Oklahoma. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Texas 11-1, Oklahoma St. 9-0. Away Record: Texas 3-1, Oklahoma St. 1-4. Neutral Record: Texas 2-1, Oklahoma St. 4-1. Conference Record: Texas 4-0, Oklahoma St. 2-3. Series Record: Texas leads, 42-35.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off their first-ever win at Kansas, the seventh-ranked Texas Longhorns continue their quest for the Big 12 Conference championship as they pull into Stillwater for this evening's showdown with the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Texas knocked off No. 2 Kansas in Lawrence last Saturday, 74-63, putting an end to the Jayhawks' record 69-game home winning streak. It was the Longhorns' first win at Allen Fieldhouse in 10 tries and moved them to 16-3 overall and 4-0 in the Big 12. UT is 3-1 in true road games this season, and 5-2 outside of Austin all together when you factor in a 2-1 mark in neutral-site affairs.
Oklahoma State had gotten off to an 11-1 start, but a 73-52 loss at Gonzaga on New Year's Eve started a run of games in which the Cowboys would go just 3-4. Three of those setbacks have come in the last four games, coincidentally all against Big 12 foes. A 76-57 pasting at the hands of the Baylor Bears this past Saturday dropped the team to 2-3 in conference. Fortunately for the Pokes, they have won all nine home games played thus far, giving them an obvious reason for optimism tonight.
Texas owns a 42-35 advantage in the all-time series with Oklahoma State, and the Longhorns have won eight of the last nine meetings.
It looked as if Kansas was going to have very little trouble extending its lengthy home win streak last Saturday, as the Jayhawks scored the game's first 10 points before taking a 12-point lead into the break. Fortunately for Texas, it made the necessary adjustments to not only get back in the game, but earn the improbable victory. J'Covan Brown scored 23 points in 29 minutes of action off the bench to lead UT, which also got double-digit performances from Jordan Hamilton (17), Tristan Thompson (12) and Cory Joseph (11). The 'Horns shot just 30.8 percent from the field in the first half, but a blistering 63.6 percent showing over the final 20 minutes coupled with a dreadful 26.7 percent effort by the Jayhawks turned a double-digit deficit into a double-digit lead. Hamilton (19.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg) leads four double-digit scorers into battle each night for the Longhorns, who average 77.9 ppg on 46.0 percent field goal efficiency and 37.9 percent accuracy from three-point range. Thompson (13.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg), Gary Johnson (11.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Joseph (11.2 ppg, 3.1 apg) round out the offensive-minded quartet, while Brown is close to joining the crowd with his 9.8 ppg. The opposition is netting just 61.4 ppg in hitting only 37.0 percent of their total shots, and a mere 29.9 percent of its long- range attempts.
Oklahoma State played one of its worst games of the season in last Saturday's embarrassing loss at Baylor, as the Cowboys shot just 39.2 percent from the field, missed 15 of their 19 three-point attempts, and were beaten soundly on the glass, 40-19. Markel Brown and Darrell Williams each had a decent outing, combining to go 12-of-19 from the floor for 30 points, but the other 11 guys who saw action for OSU went a combined 8-of-32 to fill in the additional 27 points. Conversely, the Bears drained 60.0 percent of their total shots and claimed a 24-13 edge in points from the foul line. Through 19 games, the Cowboys are averaging 71.0 ppg while allowing 65.8 ppg. They are shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, and permitting the opposition just a 40.6 success rate. Marshall Moses (15.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg, .574) leads the team in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, while Keiton Page (13.8 ppg) and Jean- Paul Olukemi (11.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg) have made solid contributions as well.
While it probably wouldn't surprise anyone if the Longhorns were to suffer a letdown following such a huge win, don't expect it to happen as UT coach Rick Barnes is as good as there is in the country at keeping his team focused on the task at hand. Sure the Cowboys have yet to lose at home this season, but simply put, Texas is the better team.