Put them all together and the No. 10 Longhorns earned a regular-season sweep of Oklahoma State with an 89-75 win Tuesday night that keeps them wrestling for the top spot in the Big 12.
Carr scored 21 points, Allen added 17 and Cunningham pumped in a career-high 15 to lead the Longhorns (17-3, 6-2), who scored their most points in a Big 12 win this season after a 56-46 defensive struggle when they first met they Cowboys on Jan. 7.
Oklahoma State blocked 12 shots in that game but couldn't match it in the rematch as Texas pressed a quick pace.
“We’re always looking to run. That’s something we always try to have as an identity," Carr said. “The whole season we’ve been putting the emphasis on playing fast.”
Texas improved to 10-2 under interim head coach Rodney Terry. He took over the team in mid-December when Chris Beard was suspended and then fired three weeks later. The Texas win and No. 12 Iowa State's win over No. 5 Kansas State has all three teams team sitting at 6-2 in league play.
Texas attacked the basket early behind Dylan Disu, Christian Bishop and Allen and threatened to pull away when the Longhorns built a 33-25 lead in the first half. A deep 3-pointer from Bryce Thompson pulled the Cowboys within 33-30 before Texas closed the half with 7-2 run capped by Sir'Jabari Rice's 3-pointer from the left wing.
Texas quickly built the lead to 13 out of halftime when Carr had a steal to set up Allen's 3-point play and then made a step-back jumper.
“They were the aggressor," Oklahoma State Mike Boynton, Jr. said. “We were always reacting to what they were doing instead of taking the fight to them.”
Disu scored 12 and was a defensive force in the second half, hustling for blocks and poking away loose balls to earn Texas possession, while Carr and Allen midrange jump shots kept the Cowboys from making a run to close the gap.
“This whole week, it was about this being a toughness game,” Cunningham said “This team took that message and took that to the game.”
Consecutive 3-pointers from Cunningham and Tyrese Hunter pushed Texas to a 69-58 lead and the Longhorns rode that cushion to the end. Cunningham, who averages 4.2 points, was 5-of-6 shooting with three 3-pointers.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys missed junior forward Moussa Cisse, who leads the Big 12 in both blocked shots (2.4 per game) and rebounding (8.9), but missed another game with an ankle injury. He had returned for consecutive wins over Oklahoma and Iowa State but was back on bench Tuesday night. The last player to lead the Big 12 in both categories was Texas' Mo Bamba in the 2017-18 season.
Texas: Carr, a graduate student playing his sixth season at his third school, is the only active player with at least 2,000 points, 600 assists and 400 rebounds. Carr has 2,099 career points, 494 rebounds and 679 assists after Tuesday night.
Texas continues to show off arguably the deepest lineup in the Big 12. The Longhorns lead the league in scoring off the bench at more than 27 points per game, and got 29 points Tuesday night.
Oklahoma State hosts Mississippi in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday.
Texas plays at No. 4 Tennessee in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday. The matchup will pit Terry against his former boss, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. Terry was an assistant at Texas from 2002-2011 when Barnes was leading the Longhorns program and took Texas to the Final Four in 2003.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll
- Doug Simmons
- Bert Smith
- Tony Padilla