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Mouton's free throws seal win

2/22/2004

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Brandon Mouton refused to miss the
offensive shootout that started while he was on the bench early in
the second half.

Refreshed by a short rest, Texas' senior guard stepped back on
the court and began tormenting Oklahoma again.

"I thought it was time to get in there and help my team,"
Mouton said after scoring 25 points to send Texas (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) past the
Sooners 68-63 on Saturday night. "I came back in. I was feeling
fresh again. Things worked out for us."

The Longhorns (19-4, 10-2 Big 12) made their biggest play of the
game after a rare Mouton miss.

Jason Klotz wrestled away a rebound from two Sooners after
Mouton misfired on a free throw and freshman forward P.J. Tucker
scored on a putback with 26.1 seconds to play, sealing the win for
the Longhorns.

"I just went in there, tried to get in there quick," Klotz
said. "I'm not that athletic of a guy. I tried to get in there
strong and go up and get that thing."

Texas kept its hold on second place in the Big 12 and completed
its second-straight season sweep over its hated border rival.

Oklahoma (16-7, 6-6) fell to seventh place in the conference and
lost consecutive games at home for the first time in five years --
Oklahoma State won here on Monday. The Sooners have lost two
straight to Texas in Norman.

"We just did not get it done," guard Jason Detrick said. "We
let them get too many cheap points and that hurt."

Mouton sparked a 15-2 run midway through the second half,
turning a 46-40 deficit into a 55-48 lead with 6:56 to play. During
the spurt, Mouton cooly nailed a 3-pointer, soared through the lane
for a two-handed dunk, made a pair of free throws and then hit
another 3 from the corner.

His final 3-pointer effectively quieted the sellout crowd of
11,785 at the Lloyd Noble Center.

"I really felt like our team fed off of (Mouton's) confidence
tonight," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "I felt like he really
carried himself the way you want a guy who has really led your team
for a number of years to."

Oklahoma nearly doubled its point total from an embarrassing
66-37 loss in Austin two weeks ago, but still didn't have enough
offense to keep up with the Big 12's top-scoring team.

The Sooners went more than six minutes without a field goal
during one second-half stretch and shot just 36 percent -- about
average for the league's worst-shooting team.

Freshman Drew Lavender led Oklahoma with 18 points, and Detrick
had 14.

Texas had an answer for every challenge by the Sooners in the
game's final minutes.

Detrick and De'Angelo Alexander each completed a couple of
three-point plays, tying the game at 63-all with 51.4 seconds left.

But Mouton was fouled almost 35 feet away from the basket by
Johnnie Gilbert on the next possession, and he hit one free throw
before Klotz's clutch rebound all but ended the game.

Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson was upset that a foul was called
at all.

"I really was extremely disappointed in that call that sent
Mouton to the foul line in that situation. I was very, very
disappointed," Sampson said. "In that situation, I think you
should let the players decide the game. Texas may have scored on
that possession. That's a moot point."

Royal Ivey later hit a pair of free throws to provide the final
margin.

After hitting the second one, Ivey left his hand in the air and
quickly flashed a "Hook'em Horns" sign at the crowd as he trotted
over to the sidelines into a throng of celebrating teammates.

It was one of several key performances by Texas' seniors.

James Thomas finished with a season-high 12 rebounds -- almost
doubling the previous season high of seven -- and set UT's career
rebounding record on his second board early in the first half.

Thomas and the bruising Longhorns -- who lead the league in
rebounding margin -- set the tone for the win by outrebounding
Oklahoma 46-30.

"If you don't have big, strong bruisers in there you better
either be quick and athletic or big and strong," said Sampson,
whose team has been outrebounded in 13 of its last 14 games.
"Texas' strength and its depth up front hurt us."

This loss could prove particularly damaging for the Sooners'
at-large NCAA hopes.

Oklahoma plays it next two games on the road at Colorado and No.
21 Kansas, then has two winnable ones at home against Texas A&M and
Baylor. If the Sooners can't get past the second round of the Big
12 tournament, they'll have few wins over quality opponents to
warrant selection to the NCAA tournament.