Oklahoma State

Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

Not the first, not the second, but the third time’s the charm.

Trailing Texas by just one point with 23 ticks on the clock, Oklahoma State’s Jeffrey Carroll drove to the basket for a right-handed layup. The shot swirled out of the rim and landed in the hands of the Cowboys’ Tavarius Shine after he relentlessly pursued the ball.

Oklahoma State’s second opportunity at a game-winning shot bricked off the iron, but Yankuba Sima flew in from the 3-point line and tipped the ball in with eight seconds left before either team could come down with a key rebound.

It took three chances for Oklahoma State to sink the game-winning bucket, but the Cowboys’ intense finish gave them a 65-64 win over the Longhorns in Stillwater on Saturday afternoon.

Despite the closely contested final minute, the Longhorns held a safe lead that was quickly diminished in the last few minutes.

With 5:55 remaining, freshman guard Matt Coleman’s free throw put Texas ahead 62-50. But with the home crowd at Gallagher-Iba Arena on their side, the Cowboys drained a slew of free throws and shot lights out on their jumpers to pull ahead, using a 13-0 run in less than three minutes of clock time.

Junior forward Dylan Osetkowski drained Texas’ last field goal of the game on a driving bankshot down the right side of the court. But the Longhorns hit another shot. Unfortunately for Shaka Smart’s team, it didn’t count.

With under 30 seconds to go and a one-point lead, Coleman fired down the lane and shot one of his signature floaters — a move he previously hit a game-winning shot with against Tennessee State. But Oklahoma State clogged the lane with several stationary defenders, one of which positioned himself right in front of Coleman.

The referees issued a charging foul. Instead of a three-point lead, Texas turned the ball over to the Cowboys for an opportunity at the final shot.

Oklahoma State struck gold on Sima’s tip-in. Texas had under eight seconds to respond with a game-winner, but Oklahoma State poked the ball out of Coleman’s hands and the Longhorns’ final shot was reduced to an off-balance, desperation heave from beyond the arc by sophomore guard Jacob Young. The buzzer sounded as the attempt bounced off the rim.

Before that final sequence, Texas played solid defense on the Cowboys’ prior attempts at a game-winner. One of Sima’s previous layups ended in a rejection by Wooden Award watch list member and freshman center Mo Bamba. After being shut down in the opening 20 minutes, Bamba played like a man possessed in the second half. His 11 second-half points, complemented by 10 rebounds and two blocks, propelled Texas throughout the afternoon. But the team still couldn’t escape with a much-needed conference win.

Prior to Bamba’s offensive arrival, the hero of the game was Eric Davis Jr. The junior guard finished the opening half with 15 of his 18 points. He drained 4-of-5 3-pointers and sparked the Longhorns’ offense — a significant reason Texas entered halftime ahead 32-25.

Bamba and Davis played stout individual games, but Texas’ tight rotation — which featured just seven players — ultimately hurt the team down the stretch in the second half. The Longhorns were without sophomore guard Andrew Jones, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia, and junior guard Kerwin Roach II, who is out with a fractured left hand.

For a team that appears to be on the fringe of a NCAA Tournament selection, Texas (11–6, 2–3 Big 12) needs every win it can get, and a road loss to Oklahoma State certainly won’t help when almost every Big 12 matchup is a tough battle. Smart and the Longhorns will return home on Wednesday night against No. 8 Texas Tech.

Over the weekend, the Longhorns were able to avenge last year’s loss to Kansas with a 42-27 victory at home. The Big 12 had four other important conference games in the weekend lineup. Here’s how they turned out:

Oklahoma drops TCU

Oklahoma has been extending its College Football Playoff hopes week after week. The Sooners’ matchup with TCU on Saturday proved to be one of their most important and hard-fought contests of the season. Coming into the game, Oklahoma and TCU both sat atop the Big 12 standings with one loss each, with hopes of becoming the lone Big 12 representative in the playoff picture.

The Sooners quickly grabbed control in this matchup thanks to the performance by Heisman front-runner Baker Mayfield. The Sooners’ first-half offensive explosion helped them take an early lead that they would not relinquish. Oklahoma didn’t even score in the second half, but a strong defensive performance made its 38 first-half points enough for a 38-20 victory over the Horned Frogs.

Mayfield continued to build his case for a Heisman trophy with another stellar performance, throwing for 333 yards and three touchdowns. The Oklahoma offense also benefited from a strong performance by running back Rodney Anderson, who ended the game with 151 rushing yards, 139 receiving yards and four total touchdowns.

Oklahoma State slides past Iowa State

Oklahoma State and Iowa State were both very much in the race for the Big 12 Championship game coming into their matchup last Saturday. Both teams entered the contest with two conference losses, knowing a third would end their championship hopes.

Iowa State has proved to be a surprise this season, but Oklahoma State did the Cyclones no favors. The game was unexpectedly a shootout. The Cyclones were able to match the firepower of the Cowboys’ offense.

Iowa State’s impressive offensive performance was not enough, however, as quarterback Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys put 49 up on a usually stout Iowa State defense. Oklahoma State came away with a 49-42 victory.

West Virginia sneaks out win

West Virginia and Kansas State have both been formidable opponents in the Big 12 this season.

West Virginia has had quite an up-and-down season this year, but this matchup against Kansas State was a defining one for the Mountaineers. West Virginia leaned heavily on star quarterback Will Grier, as well as standout wide receiver Ka’Ruan White. Grier threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Mountaineers to a 28-23 victory.

Texas traveled to Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Saturday in hopes of earning its second-straight conference win. No. 8 TCU proved to be a tough matchup for the Longhorns, though, as the Horned Frogs defeated Texas 24-7. The rest of the Big 12 was also in action with four other conference games on Saturday. Here’s how they shaped up:


Texas Tech unable to snap losing streak
Texas Tech has been on quite a skid since it began conference play. While the Red Raiders were undefeated in non-conference play, they have only produced one win against a Big 12 opponent thus far in the season. Texas Tech looked to get back on track over the weekend as Kansas State traveled to Lubbock, but the Wildcats stunned the Red Raiders behind backup QB Skylar Thompson’s game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Texas Tech came out slow against the Wildcats, but the Red Raiders showed their usual brand of high flying, up-tempo offense behind QB Nic Shimonek’s 405 passing yards by the end of the first quarter. However, Kansas State showed their own version of a prolific offense, keeping up with the Red Raiders the entire way. The game would ultimately enter overtime after a late Kansas State two-point conversion. In overtime, Thompson sealed the Wildcats win, throwing an eight-yard touchdown. With the 42-35 defeat, Texas Tech now sits on a four-game losing streak.


Oklahoma wins stunner in Bedlam rivalry
All eyes were on Saturday’s game in Stillwater, Oklahoma, as two of the top Big 12 contenders went head-to-head in one of the biggest rivalries the conference has to offer. This year’s Bedlam matchup would prove to be one of the most memorable, setting offense records while racking up 114 total points and more than 1,400 yards.

Coming into the matchup, both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, each led by Heisman candidates at the QB position, held one loss. The game would prove to be an epic back-and-forth with baffling offense stat lines in the passing and running games. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph each threw for five touchdowns, but in the end it would be Mayfield remaining at the top of the Heisman campaign. The senior ended his day with 598 yards passing on top of the five scores. After the 62-52 shootout victory, the Sooners now sit at No. 5 in the AP Poll.


Baylor earns first win
The Bears have seen their fair share of disappointment in 2017, starting the year with eight-consecutive losses to kick off head coach Matt Rhule’s tenure. Baylor has been able to keep a few of its conference games surprisingly close, but the team has never been able to hold on to a lead till the end.

That changed Sunday, as Baylor overwhelmed Big 12 bottom-feeder Kansas in a 38-9 victory. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer led the scoring barrage against the Jayhawks, throwing for 315 yards and three touchdowns. Bears wide receiver Denzel Mims would also show out in the victory, with 122 yards on just five receptions. While the win does not help the Bear’s conference championship hopes very much, it does provide a good boost of confidence to Rhule and the rest of his first-year coaching staff.

Photo Credit: Brooke Crim | Daily Texan Staff

One hundred scoreless minutes into the last match of Texas’ regular season on Friday night, the crowd of over 2,000 sat holding its breath, waiting for the Longhorns to work their overtime magic. 

The Longhorns were previously undefeated in extra minutes this season and unbeaten between the bleachers at Mike A. Myers Stadium. Senior night and a home closer provided the perfect backdrop to end conference play and clinch the No. 2 seed heading into the Big 12 tournament. 

Sophomore goalie Nicole Curry had already earned five saves by the hundredth minute. Texas’ defense had weathered a number of close calls from the lightning-fast counterattacks of the conference’s best offense. But as the seconds ticked down in overtime, Oklahoma State defender Laurene Tresfield launched a header from the left side off of a Cowgirl corner, and Texas’ season ended on an errant roll and Longhorn loss.

A visibly upset Texas team slid to the fourth seed in the conference tournament with Friday’s loss, and could only watch as the cheering Oklahoma State squad headed to the locker room to celebrate.  

“I think that we lost focus for a second, and credit to them for scoring that goal,” freshman midfielder and forward Haley Berg said. “It was obviously a hard angle, but I think that if we had just stayed focused on taking our chances, then I think that it would have been different.”

Texas struggled to generate clean looks on offense throughout the contest. A number of trips up the field ended in deep shots from outside the box as the Cowgirls stayed compact on the defensive end and looked to counterattack Longhorn overextensions. 

“They just sit five or six or seven back,” head coach Angela Kelly said. “If you don’t have patience, then you have to end up taking these long-range shots, which is exactly what they’re hoping that you’ll do. Definitely a game that we’ll grow from.”

The Longhorns also failed to capitalize on the few scoring opportunities it had. Texas redshirt freshman forward Cydney Billups clanked a soft shot off the right bar in the first half, and redshirt sophomore forward Mikayla Flores beat her defender to the spot only to have a header bounce clean off the frame coming out of the break. Out of 13 Texas shots in the game, only four were on target.

With the loss, the Longhorns earned a rematch with Baylor on Wednesday in the first round of the Big 12 Championship tournament. In spite of a roster that boasts little postseason action, Kelly is confident her team will come out with the same composure they’ve demonstrated all season. 

“To finish with only two losses on the season, I think that’s given them a ton of experience,” Kelly said. “To come out on top on the other end of five of our overtimes, I think that we’re pretty battle-tested.”

Photo Credit: Carlos Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

In the season finale for this year’s storybook run by a young Texas team, it would be preferable to ease into the postseason with an opponent on the lower end of the Big 12 standings. But just the opposite awaits the No. 9 Longhorns, as an Oklahoma State team wielding the most explosive offense in the conference will test head coach Angela Kelly and her players ahead of the Big 12 Championship.

Texas has been focused on postseason success ever since the year started, but going through Big 12 competition to get there has posed a significant challenge for both the team and Kelly.  

“In this conference there’s so many talented teams,” Kelly said following the road win over Baylor. “On any given night, it’s becoming more and more difficult to steal points.”

Stealing points has been an upside from the many tight contests Texas has found themselves in. Aside from holding the third-highest conference win total in the Big 12, Texas also gained points on ties against TCU and Oklahoma. 

The strides Texas has taken in 2017 are evident when analyzing the preseason polls. The Longhorns did not earn a spot in the United Soccer Coaches poll’s top 25 before the season, looking from the outside in as Oklahoma and West Virginia sat ranked. But the Longhorns beat both the Mountaineers and the Sooners in regular-season play and sit above both in the Big 12 standings heading into Friday night. 

Texas takes its underdog role seriously. Kelly demands her players focus on the match at hand and not lose sight of their next opponent. 

“You’re only as good as your last practice, and you’re only as good as your last match,” Kelly said. “Anytime you rest on laurels, this game will come back and bite you.”

But while the Longhorns may be underdogs, there is certainly no shortage of talent on the roster. Sophomore Cyera Hintzen leads the Big 12 in points and goals scored, and goalkeeper Nicole Curry leads the conference in shutouts and is second in save percentage. Both players will make the Longhorns a tough out in the conference tournament. 

As prolific as Hintzen and freshman striker Haley Berg have been on the offensive end, the Cowgirls boast a similar dynamic duo up top. Oklahoma State freshman forward Taylor Olsen and junior forward Haley Woodard top the conference in goals combined for two players on the same team with 13, leaving Berg and Hintzen trailing a goal behind, tied in second place with 12. That, along with Oklahoma State’s 11 goals-scored lead over any other team in the Big 12, will prove a definitive assessment of the Longhorns’ stout defense heading into future games.

Kickoff against the current first-place Big 12 team in Oklahoma State will be at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

A Texas win would would secure a top-three seed prior to the start of postseason play. The Big 12 Championships start on Nov. 1.

Photo Credit: Gabby Lanza | Daily Texan Staff

It was an all-too-familiar sight for the majority of the 92,506 spectators at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium: yet another heartbreaking loss.

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns walked off the field in dejection, as they watched their opponent storm the field following another painful defeat.

This time, it was No. 10 Oklahoma State celebrating a 13-10 victory.

Stunned looks ran across DKR on Saturday afternoon –– except for a small, bright orange section on the visiting side of the stadium where the Oklahoma State fans celebrated the Cowboys’ win.

“I don’t know when we’re going to break through that barrier,” head coach Tom Herman said. “I thought it was going to be this week. We had an unbelievable week of preparation. The guys were focused and ready to go. But it wasn't.”

Texas took the Cowboys, a team boasting the top offense in the nation, into overtime with the score deadlocked, 10-10. Saturday marked Texas’ third overtime of the season, and the Longhorns appeared to be primed to polish off a major upset, until they didn’t.

Oklahoma State had the first possession of overtime, but the Longhorn defense did what it had done all game: prevented the potent Oklahoma State offense from entering the endzone. Texas forced Oklahoma State to kick a field goal, giving freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger the ball with an opportunity to win the game.

With Texas less than seven yards away from winning the game and pulling off Texas’ biggest win of the season, Ehlinger took the snap. The freshman quarterback rolled to his left but was quickly forced to backpedal after the Cowboy defense forced pressure.

Unable to plant his feet, Ehlinger lobbed the ball into the endzone, barely in the vicinity of junior receiver Jerrod Heard and sophomore Devin Duvernay. The ball floated several yards away from Heard and Duvernay and right into the hands of Oklahoma State senior cornerback and San Antonio-native Ramon Richards, who fell to the ground to end the game.

“It’s awful,” Ehlinger said. “Losing sucks. That’s every week that we lose … I just made a mistake. I thought that Jerrod [Heard] was going to circle back up to the back of the end zone for a jump ball. That’s why I put it up there for him and for a chance to win. It was a mistake.

Texas’ 13-10 loss marks the Longhorns’ fourth defeat of the season, and another close one at that. Overtime forced the Longhorns to do something they hadn’t done all game: depend on the offense to close things out. After a strong defensive effort, Texas’ offensive unit failed to ice the contest.

The Longhorn defense, however, kept the burnt orange in the game by holding the nation’s top offense, who came into the matchup averaging over 48 points per game, to 13 points –– the first time the Cowboys haven’t scored 20 points or more in 36 games.

But it wasn’t enough, not with the mere 10 points the offense put up.

“(The defense) played well enough to beat any team,” junior running back Chris Warren III said. “We’ve got to help them, point blank.”

Texas is now coming off of back-to-back one-possession losses to then-No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 10 Oklahoma State.

The Longhorns’ loss to the Cowboys also marks their second overtime loss to a top-10 team. However, despite a 3–4 record (2–2 Big 12), Texas has been in every game this season.

Texas is close, and Herman knows it.

“I told our guys all week, after the loss to Oklahoma, that we were close and that close is a lot better than the alternative,” Herman said. “They’ve been a part of teams that were far away, and you know it when they are. This one’s not."

Photo Credit: Carlos Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

In the northwest corner of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the only thing some Longhorn players could do was simply kneel down and process another agonizing loss.

The play that had dashed Texas’ hopes of a breakthrough victory over No. 10 Oklahoma State was just too excruciating to accept.

Freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger stood bewildered and pointed in the direction of where everything came crashing down. He couldn’t believe what he had just done.

Ehlinger’s pass into the corner of the north end zone on third and four in overtime was nowhere close to a Longhorn receiver. Oklahoma State safety Ramon Richards had no trouble intercepting Ehlinger’s gift of a pass, the final play of Texas’ 13-10 overtime loss to the Cowboys.

“I feel like we're in every game,” junior safety DeShon Elliott said. “We don't know how to finish. We'll get to that point. We'll keep digging and eventually we'll get to diamonds.”

As Oklahoma State players began to storm the field, senior wide receiver Lorenzo Joe dropped straight to a knee.

Senior wide receiver Dorian Leonard crouched down in disgust, then was consoled by injured senior tight end Andrew Beck.

Junior linebacker Malik Jefferson also went down to the turf. Jefferson had said earlier in the week that the Longhorns just needed one more turn for Texas to break through. But on Saturday afternoon, Texas took a turn back into the wrong direction, dropping to 3-4 on the season and 2-2 in Big 12 play.

It was the third time this season the Longhorns went into overtime, and it was the second time they came up a play short.

“It’s tough — I have no words for it honestly,” Jefferson said.

Fellow junior linebacker Breckyn Hager was the first to console Jefferson.

Hager turned in one of the best performances of his career on Saturday. The Austin Westlake High School product set a career-high in sacks with two, tallied three tackles and had a quarterback hurry. Hager said after the game he wanted to bounce back after dropping a crucial red-zone interception in the third quarter of last week’s loss to Oklahoma in Dallas.

“I just knew there was a lot of opportunity out there for me, and I had to take it,” Hager said. “I felt real down on myself about dropping that OU (interception).”

On a day when the Longhorns held the No. 1 offense in the nation to just 10 points in regulation, Texas still couldn’t close out another game. After the loss, few words were used to describe the pain of yet another gut-wrenching result.

The one question seemingly hanging over the Longhorns’ minds after Saturday’s defeat was simple: when will things finally turn around?

And maybe that was the question so many Longhorn players on bended knee were trying to answer in the wake of another painful loss on Saturday afternoon. The upperclassmen in particular — Joe, Leonard, Elliott, Jefferson and Hager — have spent their entire Texas careers confronting that question and dealing with frustration.

And they know time is running thin.

“This upper class — it’s special,” Hager said. “We’re tired of talking about it to you guys and saying that. But we are special, and we are bringing positives out of these negative outcomes.”

But the only positives that haven’t followed are the ones that teams are ultimately judged by — wins.

“We’re very close. It’s still not over with,” Elliott said. “Because we believe in each other. The defense believes in the offense, the offense believes in the defense and we believe in our coaches. We’re a family. So eventually, we’ll rally together and get things right.”