Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Longhorns end three-year skid against Sooners

By Jim Vertuno
The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas - Kelvin Sampson figured his Oklahoma Sooners were sometimes more lucky than good against Texas in recent years.

That luck ran out Monday night when No. 6 Texas beat No. 5 Oklahoma 67-61, sending hundreds of fans streaming onto the floor to celebrate an end to the Longhorns' eight-game losing streak against their border rival.

The skid included three Big 12 tournament losses and an overtime defeat last season in Austin during the Sooners' run to the Final Four. Texas (16-4, 7-2 Big 12) hadn't beaten Oklahoma (16-4, 7-2) since Jan. 15, 2000.

"We were lucky to win some of those games," Sampson said. "We could've easily won this game, and they could have easily won some of those."

Texas figures it took more than luck to end the streak. It took key contributions from several players.

"We played hard, and it was a great win," said Texas guard Royal Ivey, who scored 14 points and hit the key 3-pointer to give the Longhorns a four-point lead with just over two minutes to play. "Tonight was a team effort."

Brandon Mouton added 14 points and James Thomas got his 10th double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds. T.J. Ford had eight points and seven assists and Jason Klotz scored eight points, including a key bucket in the final two minutes.

Even freshman Brad Buckman, playing against the Sooners for the first time, got into the act, scoring the game's first four points.

"We talked about each guy going in and affecting the game in his way. We got that tonight," said Texas coach Rick Barnes, happy to talk about what went right against the Sooners instead of what went wrong.

The Longhorns also got a boost from the Frank Erwin Center crowd of 15,783 - easily the most raucous of Barnes' five years in Austin. And when the final buzzer sounded, hundreds of students rushed the court, jumping over or running under a flimsy rope that security personnel hoped would keep them at bay.

"This is what it's about," Barnes said. "I think the fans are really getting excited about coming to watch Texas basketball."

Hollis Price had 23 points for Oklahoma, which dropped out of a tie for first place in the conference with Oklahoma State and Kansas.

Price, who hit four 3-pointers in the first half, made it 60-59 with a 3 with 1:29 to play. After Texas called a timeout, Klotz hit a turnaround jumper and the Longhorns made 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

The Sooners could only watch the final seconds tick off, but they'll get their rematch in Norman on March 8.

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