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Oklahoma State blows lead then upends No. 25 Texas in OT

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AUSTIN, Texas — Oklahoma State built a lead, blew the lead, then battled in overtime to beat No. 25 Texas 65-63 Wednesday night at the Frank Erwin Center.

The Cowboys won it where they nearly lost it — at the foul line. Guard Phil Forte made two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining in the extra period to seal the win.

Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor missed on a desperation, running 3-pointer as time expired.

Oklahoma State finished just 20-for-29 from the line and missed the front end of two one-and-one opportunities late in regulation, aiding a Longhorns rally.

Yet Forte, back at the scene of a high school state championship win he’d clinched with six free throws in the final minute, wouldn’t let the Cowboys completely fade.

“I was just trying to focus and lock in,” Forte said. “I tried to think about the state championship game, I was kind of put in the same situation my senior year. I think it’s kind of ironic how it comes down to the same thing.”

In a game of major implications for both teams, the Cowboys bounced back from a home loss to Oklahoma to improve to 15-7, 5-5 in the Big 12.

“I was proud of our team’s toughness,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “It wasn’t the prettiest game.”

Not even in the first half, when the Cowboys were building a big lead and turning Texas over 13 times.

Forte and Le’Bryan Nash, two of the Big 12’s top scorers, struggled to get going. Neither player had a point through the game’s first 13 minutes, and still OSU led.

Nash finished with a team-high 17 points, but it came on a 6-of-19 shooting effort from the floor. Forte added 14 points on a 3-of-13 shooting night.

Guard Anthony Hickey added 15 key points, making three 3-pointers.

“They were trying,” Ford said of Forte and Nash. “They took good shots, they weren’t always falling for them. It was a rough night.

“But we had other guys step up. (Jeff) Newberry gave us good minutes early in the game. Anthony Hickey played a great game. Everybody stepped up and played well for us.”

Texas, once ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation, lost for the fourth straight time, falling to 14-8 and 3-6.

Oklahoma State led by as many as 15 points in the first half and by 12 with 15:47 left, but Texas rallied to tie the game at 56-56. The Longhorns had a chance to win in regulation before guard Isaiah Taylor missed the front end of a one-and-one with 3.2 seconds remaining.

Taylor seemed to short arm the free throw, which clanged off the front of the rim and extended the game.

“I think I did a little bit,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately, that free throw didn’t go in. All the rest of them did. That free throw, that’s something I can’t get back.”

Taylor led all scorers with 18 points, all but two coming in the second half.

Forward Le’Bryan Nash led the Cowboys with 17 points, while point guard Anthony Hickey added 15 and Forte had 14.

Texas continued a stretch of bad first halves, falling behind by double-digits for the third straight game. The Longhorns trailed by 13 in a loss at Iowa State and 14 in a loss at Baylor.

This one was at home against a team that enjoyed little success in Austin through the years.

Still, Texas was listless early, leading to more turnovers (13) than field goals (10) in the first half. For the game, the Longhorns gave the ball away 18 times and scored 21 baskets.

And for a team that carried such high hopes through the early stages of the season, confidence appears to be waning.

“The confidence is still high,” Taylor insisted. “We’re still a good team. There’s no doubt in my mind. We’ve got a lot of good guys. We’re just itching for a win.”

Said Texas guard Demarcus Holland, who made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points: “We still have a lot of confidence moving forward. As hard as it is to understand that … we don’t have one selfish body on this team. I

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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