AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- It's been seven years since Texas won a
basketball title. Even the 2003 team that made it to the Final Four
didn't win the Big 12.
That drought ended Sunday with a 72-48 win over Oklahoma (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP),
a victory that earned Texas (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) a share of the conference
championship and the No. 1 seed in the league tournament.
Daniel Gibson scored 22 points, hitting four of Texas' nine
3-pointers, in a rivalry game the Longhorns turned into a rout.
"It feels good to hold that trophy," said Gibson, who also had
six assists by driving to the basket when he wasn't spotting up
from long range.
"Killer instinct," he said. "Whoever was in front of me, I
was going after them."
Texas (25-5, 13-3) shares the Big 12 title with Kansas, a team
the Longhorns beat by 25 a week earlier. They get the top seed in
the conference tournament because of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
P.J. Tucker added 13 points for the Longhorns, who went
undefeated in conference play at home. Texas set a school record
for most wins in a regular season and ended a three-game losing
streak to the Sooners.
"We locked into their shooters," Tucker said. "We played
great defensive ball."
The Sooners, who had won four straight games by one point,
surprisingly never mustered a counterpunch in a rivalry known for
its rugged play.
"We've earned our stripes over the years by outcompeting you. I
didn't see that a lot today," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said.
"When one team is competing really hard and the other one is not,
that's a huge difference."
Texas could have won the Big 12 title outright after beating
Kansas, but blundered away the chance with a 46-43 loss at Texas
A&M. Tucker dribbled out the shot clock to set up A&M's winning
shot in the final second.
Given another chance at the title, the Longhorns never let this
one get close.
Gibson has struggled with streaky shooting and tendinitis in his
knee but hit three 3-pointers in the first half. The Longhorns
defense forced eight turnovers and held Oklahoma without a basket
during a 10-minute stretch.
"My pops always told me never make excuses," Gibson said. "A
lot of times when that ball goes up, all that pain goes out the
In the first meeting with the Sooners, an 82-72 Oklahoma win,
the Longhorns got no points off their bench. Guard A.J. Abrams
ended that drought with two 3-pointers in the final 3 minutes of
the first half.
The Longhorns hit 6-of-12 from long range to take a 33-23 lead
"We took shots," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "And we were
Sooners forward Kevin Bookout hit the first basket of the
second. It was the last time Oklahoma got the lead under 10. Tucker
hit a leaning bank shot high off the backboard. Brad Buckman, a
sneaky 3-point shooter at power forward, stepped to the top of the
arc for Texas' first 3 of the second half as Texas run quickly
pushed the lead back to 16.
Texas then started going inside.
LaMarcus Aldridge hit a baseline jumper and Gibson finished a
fast break with a dish to Buckman for a two-handed dunk over two
Sampson might have missed the play. Complaining that Buckman
wasn't called for a foul on the other end the floor, Sampson was
flailing his arms and inadvertently knocked one of the officials
into the scorer's table just as Buckman went up for the slam that
put Texas up 47-31.
The Sooners outrebounded Texas 28-27 but couldn't fight their
way back in the game.
"They kind of hit us right in the mouth," Bookout said, "and
we never hit them back."
Gibson hit his fourth 3-pointer from the corner, then added a
pair of free throws. Tucker drove the baseline to draw three
defenders before shooting a pass out to Abrams for another 3. Texas
led 57-35 with 7:40 to play.
From there, it was a matter of nursing the lead through the
final minutes. Gibson coasted in for two easy layups then dumped a
pass behind a defender to feed another dunk, this time by Aldridge.
Texas heads into the Big 12 tournament still hoping for a shot
at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Longhorns were a No. 1
seed when they went to the Final Four.
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