NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Christian James led Oklahoma with 19 points and Jamal Bieniemy’s block at the buzzer clinched the Sooners’ 69-67 win over Texas at home Saturday.
The Sooners led for all but 54 seconds of the game and never trailed, building their lead as high as 17 before Texas came charging back.
Kristian Doolittle’s missed free throw with five seconds left gave the Longhorns one final chance to tie or win the game but Bieniemy, Oklahoma’s freshman point guard, sprinted back and leapt just as Texas’ Matt Coleman III rose for what would’ve been a game-tying jumper at the buzzer. Bieniemy knocked the ball away, giving the Sooners the win.
Doolittle scored 15 points for the Sooners (17-10, 5-9 Big 12).
Jase Febres led the Longhorns (15-12, 7-7) with 15 points — all on 3-pointers. Febres was 5 of 15 from behind the arc — the only field goals he attempted in the game.
Febres hit two critical 3-pointers in the final three minutes to keep Texas in the game but his miss in the final 10 seconds gave Oklahoma the chance to put the game away on the free-throw line before Doolittle’s miss.
Texas was playing without its leading scorer, senior guard Kerwin Roach II, who was suspended indefinitely Friday for a violation of team rules.
Roach was averaging 15 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
The Sooners led by 17 early in the second half as well before the Longhorns started climbing back in the game.
With less than three minutes remaining, Texas cut the lead to three on Febres’ 3-pointer and then forced a turnover on the other end to have a chance to tie or cut the lead to one.
Oklahoma: The Sooners’ NCAA Tournament chances got a big boost with the win.
Oklahoma’s 12-1 nonconference record has kept the Sooners in the discussion despite a sub-.500 Big 12 record.
The Sooners need to beat West Virginia at home on March 2 and win at least one of their other three remaining games — at Iowa State and Kansas State and at home against Kansas — to have a chance to make the field and two of those three to feel secure with their spot.
Texas: The Longhorns’ lost for the second time in three games and their NCAA Tournament hopes took a hit in the process. Texas still has a solid chance to at least make the field, but Roach’s indefinitely suspension could have a lasting impact on their chances with tough games at Baylor and at home against Iowa State coming up.
Texas: Travels to Baylor on Wednesday. The Longhorns beat the Bears, 84-72, on Feb. 6 at home.
Oklahoma: Travels to No. 19 Iowa State on Monday. The Sooners lost to the Cyclones 75-74 at home on Feb. 4. Oklahoma hasn’t won in Ames since 2011.