STILLWATER, Okla. — There are good wins and good losses. There are bad wins, too, when teams play awful and still emerge victorious.
Texas experienced a fourth category on Saturday against Oklahoma State — the bad loss.
The Longhorns blew a 12-point lead, made only one bucket in the final six minutes and watched a winnable Big 12 road game morph into a 65-64 defeat. It was a difficult end to a rough week, but alas, as freshman Mo Bamba said, “It’s what we signed up for.”
Second-half meltdowns are becoming part of this team’s narrative. Texas had 16-point, second-half lead against Duke and lost. The Horns watched small-but-manageable leads slip away against Kansas and Baylor. This is one that’ll leave the Horns tossing, turning and fuming all night long.
“These are definitely winnable games,” Bamba said. “We’re probably going to look back on film and think if we had one or two possessions back, if we had executed well or if we had grabbed the ball or beat them to the floor before they got the ball. … This one’s going to sting, but we’re on to the next one.”
A comatose crowd inside Gallagher-Iba Arena sprang to life as OSU’s Jeffrey Carroll scored twice to get the Cowboys (12-5, 2-3 Big 12) back within five. They were roaring when Tavarius Shine hit a 19-footer take the lead.
Texas couldn’t catch a break in the closing minutes. Eric Davis Jr. couldn’t get the ball to fall true after a terrific move on a reverse layup attempt. Matt Coleman scored on a floater but the basket was negated by a charge call. Dylan Osetkowski’s runner off the glass gave Texas a 64-63 lead with 1:50 remaining, but otherwise, that was it.
Oklahoma State’s Yankuba Sima and Shine and Osetkowski all went up for the ball with 6 seconds left. The ball went through the hoop, and scorekeepers initially gave credit to Sima. After a review, it was changed to Shine. But it looked like Osetkowski put the final fingerprint on the leather.
“I’m going to take half credit,” Shine said.
Told about Osetkowski’s contribution, Shine said, “He can get some of it, too.”
Texas coach Shaka Smart said his players lost a level of poise down the stretch.
“You kick yourself about any close game,” Smart said. “The reality is whether it’s today’s game or the other night against TCU, there are so many plays over the course of the game that determine the outcome. … There’s a lot of other things that we needed to do better, could’ve done better.”
Texas (11-6, 2-3) got another strong performance from Davis, who poured in 18 points, three shy of matching his career high set on Wednesday against TCU. He hit one 3-pointer from the left wing in the first half and another from the right side that gave Texas a 25-19 lead.
Bamba didn’t really engage in the first half. But Jericho Sims did. He was grabbing rebounds right and left early on, finishing with nine total. Coleman picked up two early fouls but essentially had to stay in the game. He logged 28 minutes and had nine points and five assists.
Bamba finally got going in the second half with a 3-pointer and a follow-up dunk. Jacob Young hit a 3-pointer and then scored on a runner in the lane as Texas built up a 56-44 lead. But the offense went into hibernation after Davis’ 3-pointer with 6:33 remaining.
“They made plays. We didn’t execute,” Coleman said. “They forced us to take bad shots or forced a turnover, and they came down and just capitalized on it.”
Granted, it’s been a tough week. The Longhorns learned teammate Andrew Jones was diagnosed with leukemia on Tuesday. The news was announced mid-morning Wednesday. Then hours later, Texas had to battle through a double-overtime win over TCU.
The Longhorns hopped a plane to Stillwater on Friday, went through practice, played the game and was scheduled to be back home Saturday evening. None of this gets easier. Texas hosts red-hot Texas Tech next Wednesday at the Erwin Center.
“It’s on to the next one,” Coleman said. “That’s part of the Big 12. Each game is going to be high level. So you’ve just got to be prepared for the next one. It’s a good thing it’s at home, so we’ve just got to protect home court next.”
Cowboys honor Jones: The Big 12 community has come out in full force in support of Jones. Oklahoma State players wore white, long-sleeved warmup shirts with Jones’ name and jersey number on the back on Saturday.
The gesture really hit home for Shine, who went to the same high school as Jones and they played on the same team at Irving MacArthur.
“It’s very important. I know Andrew personally,” Shine said. “I’ve seen him grow from not being known in basketball to being a McDonald’s All-American to basically becoming an NBA draft pick. So it was real big for me to see coach (Mike) Boynton and Oklahoma State University do those things for a family.”
Texas officials started a fundraising drive to help Jones’ family with medical costs. The fund was already beyond $75,000 by Saturday afternoon.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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