9:00 PM ET, February 21, 2004
Lloyd Noble Center, Norman, Oklahoma
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.