NORMAN, Okla. -- After holding up the Heisman Trophy at midcourt to a standing ovation during a TV timeout, Baker Mayfield sprinted around the Lloyd Noble Center floor, attempting to juice up the Oklahoma crowd. As he dashed past the Texas bench, Mayfield even threw up the "Horns Down" gesture to the boisterous delight of the Sooners student section.
Yet not even the former Oklahoma quarterback could ignite freshman Trae Young or the 23rd-ranked Sooners on Saturday.
Instead, Texas (16-11, 6-8 Big 12) took advantage of another poor-shooting game from Young and his teammates to pick up a critical 77-66 road victory against its rival to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive. And the Longhorns sent the spiraling Sooners (16-10, 6-8) to a fifth straight loss and the eighth defeat in 10 games.
"Our guys fought and battled and started the game with a good spirit," said Texas coach Shaka Smart, whose Longhorns swept the season series with the Sooners for the first time since 2012. "Oklahoma is a good team. The Big 12 puts people in spots during the year where you go through some adversity."
For Oklahoma that time is now, having seen its prospective NCAA tournament seed plummet since mid-January.
The same can be said about Young's shooting percentages, too.
Again Saturday, Young failed to catch fire offensively, which kept the home crowd from becoming much of a factor. Young scored 26 points but needed 21 shots to get there. In his past three games, he is just 4-of-27 from 3-point range.
Smart suggested that Young, along with other freshmen in the Big 12, might be "playing on fumes" at this point in their first college seasons.
Young, however, had other explanations for his recent struggles.
"I'm getting guarded like nobody else in the country is being guarded, scouted on like no one else in the country," said Young, who was manned Saturday by Texas guard Kerwin Roach II. "It's a mystery coming out each and every game to try and figure out how a team is going to guard me and how I'm going to dictate how my team wins. ... It's a lot tougher for me to score now than it was in the beginning.
"It's a process. Right now, it's tough."
Young added that banging knees with Roach in the first half rendered making plays even more difficult for him.
"My knee was hurting me the whole game," Young said. "I wasn't getting the same burst I usually get."
Either way, Young's teammates weren't there to pick up the offensive slack.
Starters Christian James, Brady Manek and Rashard Odomes went a combined 8-of-32 from the field. Oklahoma's other starter, forward Khadeem Lattin, picked up two fouls before the first media timeout and finished with only one shot attempt.
All told, the Sooners shot 30.8 percent. They got above 30 percent for the first time all game on a James layup before the final buzzer.
"We didn't make shots," said Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger, noting why his team couldn't get the crowd into the game, even after Mayfield tried to. "You don't make shots, you don't quite have the same energy on the boards, the same energy defensively.
"Texas had more pop from the start. We couldn't quite get over the hump."
The Longhorns finally got over the hump after enduring their own three-game losing streak, which included a double-overtime loss to Baylor on Monday. Dylan Osetkowski gave Texas its scoring punch from the perimeter with 21 points and a trio of 3s. At the other end of the floor, big man Mohamed Bamba dominated the paint, collecting 18 rebounds to go along with four blocks. During one first-half sequence, Bamba packed Young's driving layup attempt on the glass, setting up a fast break for a wide-open Texas 3.
"I told our guys we're fighting for our NCAA tournament lives," Smart said. "This was big."
The Sooners aren't fighting for their tournament lives just yet. But they aren't far off from falling back with Texas to the Bubble Watch, either.
Grabbing a high seed now seems to be out of the question for Oklahoma. Now, it's about ending this losing streak. And hoping its problems can be fixed in time.
"We're fine," Young said. "We still have a chance to win a national championship. That's all that matters now."