No. 6 Texas enters Saturday’s Big 12 Conference opener at Oklahoma on a roll despite a major off-the-court distraction.
The contest in Norman, Okla., will be the Longhorns’ fifth since coach Chris Beard was arrested Dec. 12 and charged with felony domestic violence. He remains indefinitely suspended.
Texas (11-1) has won four straight games under interim coach Rodney Terry to extend its winning streak to five overall. The Longhorns have outscored opponents by more than 22 points per game during that run.
“Right now, R.T. is our coach. We’re focused on being led by him,” guard Marcus Carr said. “Obviously, it’s an adjustment, but a good and smooth one.”
Carr is coming off a career night, hitting 10 3-pointers and scoring 41 points in the Longhorns’ 97-72 win over Texas A&M-Commerce on Tuesday.
“One of the best backcourts in the country,” Sooners coach Porter Moser said of Carr and Tyrese Hunter. “There’s no player hotter than Marcus Carr, not just the 41-point outburst in the last game. He’s been doing it consistently, and he’s shooting at a high clip.”
Carr has averaged 13.7 points per game in three career meetings with the Sooners, including two last season and one in 2019 when Carr played at Minnesota.
He leads the Longhorns with 17.8 points per game, and his 4.3 assists are tied with teammate Timmy Allen.
Texas is averaging 19.3 assists per game and ranked in the top 10 nationally.
The Longhorns swept last season’s two games against Oklahoma, including an 80-78 overtime victory in Norman.
The Sooners’ last home victory over Texas came during the 2018-19 season.
Saturday’s game is the Longhorns’ first true road game of the season.
Texas could be without starting forward Dylan Disu for the second consecutive game, after he suffered a sprained left knee in the win over Louisiana on Dec. 21.
The Sooners (9-3) haven’t played since knocking off Florida 62-53 on Dec. 20 for their second consecutive victory.
One of the keys for Oklahoma lately has been the play of freshman guard Milos Uzan.
He’s become one of the Sooners’ best facilitators, standing second on the team with 3.3 assists per game. Uzan has averaged 6.0 per game over the last four after moving into the starting lineup.
“It means a lot because it takes pressure off of Grant (Sherfield),” Moser said. “It gives you multiple ball-handlers and multiple passers. It just takes pressure off of one guy.”
The Sooners enter the weekend ranked eighth nationally in field-goal percentage, shooting 50.5 percent. OU is in the top 20 nationally in 3-point shooting at 39.8 percent.
“I think we’ve been pretty efficient with spacing,” Moser said. “That’s always been a big thing for me. We’ve tried to stay spaced and take good shots. I think our guys are sharing it. Crazy thing about it is I know we can be a lot better. We need to have less turnovers vs. Texas.”
–Field Level Media