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Sooners stop Red River road skid

AUSTIN — The Sooners ended an eight-game, nine-year drought at the Frank Erwin Center, topping the Texas Longhorns 88-85 Saturday evening.

Guard Buddy Hield put in a team-high 22 points for the Sooners.

“I thought Texas has been playing great, so to come into a tough place and beat a good team that’s playing well, I feel awfully happy for our guys,” said OU head coach Lon Kruger.

It’s the first time the Sooners have won in Austin since Feb. 20, 2005, back when a guy named Kelvin Sampson was coaching.

And the Sooners did it despite trailing by seven with about nine-and-a-half minutes remaining and dealing with some foul trouble to a couple key players.

Forward Cameron Clark picked up his fourth with 5:15 to go, while point guard Jordan Woodard eventually finished with four as well after picking up two early.

Woodard, though, helped OU close the deal because of his huge six-point run that turned a tie into a six-point Sooner lead at 84-78 with less than a minute to play.

“I just wanted to—I was dealing with foul trouble at the beginning of the game, but my teammates and coaches just kept encouraging me to stay locked into the game,” Woodard said. “And the last few minutes of the ballgame, Coach kept calling my number and I just wanted to make the right plays for my teammates and luckily I was able to get into the paint, make a layup, get to the line, make some free throws.”

The Longhorns tried to come back all the way, hitting a three and eventually getting a crack at the tie with another three from guard Damarcus Croaker after Woodard missed a pair at the stripe, but Croaker’s attempt rimmed out in the waning seconds.

Though Woodard hit the key free throws down the stretch, it was guard Buddy Hield that did most of the damage the rest of the way, as he scored a team-high 22 points, sinking four 3-pointers.

“You know, my teammates found me at the right time in the right spots, my comfort spots and it was just a good team effort,” Hield said. “Everybody found each other at the right times.”

Forward Tyler Neal and guard Isaiah Cousins—he was ejected for a pair of technicals, plus Woodard and forward Ryan Spangler all joined him in double figures with 13, 13, 12 and 11, respectively.

For the Longhorns, guard Javan Felix notched a game-high 28 points off the bench, as he hit 10 of his 19 attempts.

Croaker and forward Jonathan Holmes, as well as center Cameron Ridley joined him in double figures with 15, 15 and 14, respectively.

The Sooners led by as much as 12 in the first half before Texas closed to within four at intermission, 43-39.

A 5-0 burst out of the half put Texas up for the first time since the 8:17 mark of the first half, and it built upon it for a time.

The Sooners improve to 12-2 (1-0 Big 12) with a 7 p.m. CT Wednesday contest with No. 16 Kansas lurking in the balance.

“The league is really tough, so any time you can win, let alone win on the road, you’re going to feel good about it,” Kruger said. “We got 17 more now, and we talk to our guys all the time about how significant and how tough every one of them is. And we got to prepare to play with great energy and great enthusiasm and focus every night and tonight was a good start.”

Texas drops to 11-3 overall (0-1 Big 12) and now heads to Oklahoma State Wednesday.

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