AUSTIN, Texas — Big 12 play is in the early stages, but 16th-ranked Oklahoma already is racking up some impressive conference wins.
The Sooners traveled to Texas and slammed the 10th-ranked Longhorns 70-49 Monday night at the Frank Erwin Center.
The game followed Oklahoma’s 10-point win over No. 22 Baylor on Saturday, giving the Sooners back-to-back victories over ranked foes to start conference play.
The Big 12 is crowded with would-be contenders — six conference teams are ranked between No. 10 and No. 21 in the latest Associated Press poll — but the Sooners (11-3, 2-0 Big 12) are proving they are ready for the rigors of league play.
Oklahoma did it exactly how coach Lon Kruger wanted against Texas, with an effort predicated on defense.
“Our goal is to contest shots every possession and not give up anything easy in the paint,” Kruger said. “This club is moving in a good direction relative to the conference.”
Sooners guard Isaiah Cousins hit two 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half, sparking a 9-2 run to begin the period as Oklahoma surged ahead by 26 points.
That all but buried Texas, which struggled to find the mark all night. The Longhorns (12-3, 1-1) shot 30 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range.
“At halftime, we were telling each other don’t let them come back,” Sooners forward TaShawn Thomas said. “We’ve got to stay humble, keep our foot on the pedal. That’s one big thing that coach told us when we came in the locker room was don’t let up.”
Guard Buddy Hield scored 13 points to lead Oklahoma, which had five players score in double digits. Cousins added 12, Thomas scored 12, guard Dinjiyl Walker had 10 and guard Jordan Woodard scored 10.
“It’s not like we got a big, leading scorer that if he has an off night then we’re struggling,” Kruger said. “That helped a lot. The key with this group is they really don’t care who scores on a given night. They know that they move the ball very well and they just want to get a good result.”
Guard Javan Felix scored 13 points to lead Texas. He was the only Longhorn who scored in double figures.
Oklahoma established a double-digit lead a little more than seven minutes into the first half when forward Ryan Spangler hit a 3-pointer to cap an 11-0 run and put the Sooners ahead 13-3.
Texas made just two of its first 16 field-goal attempts. Felix and guard Isaiah Taylor each hit a 3-pointer, but those were the only baskets for the Longhorns in the first 11 minutes as Oklahoma took a 21-6 lead.
“We just got frustrated and we let it affect our defense, and we can’t let that happen because we pride ourselves in being one of the best defensive teams in the country,” Felix said. “We didn’t play like that tonight.”
After Texas center Cameron Ridley finally scored the Longhorns’ first points from inside the arc, Oklahoma reeled off another 6-0 run and grabbed a 19-point lead, tying its largest of the first half, on Thomas’ layup 4:35 before the break.
Texas shot a dismal 20 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes. The Longhorns didn’t attempt a free throw in the first half.
However, it was the overall effort, not the poor shooting, that worried Texas coach Rick Barnes.
“I’m disappointed,” Barnes said. “I didn’t think we showed any type of toughness at all. I didn’t think we showed any type of fight.”
Spangler led Oklahoma with nine points in the first half and Hield added seven as the Sooners surged ahead 33-14 at halftime.
NOTES: Oklahoma swept the two Big 12 regular-season games against Texas last season, including winning both teams’ conference opener 88-85 in Austin. … By scoring 14 points in the conference opener at Texas Tech on Saturday, Texas F Jonathan Holmes passed 1,000 points for his career, becoming the 34th Longhorn to do so. … The Longhorns got 37 bench points in a 70-61 victory at Texas Tech on Saturday, including G Javan Felix’s game-high 15 and C Cameron Ridley’s 13. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s starters scored all but two points in
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