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Archive for Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sooners shut down Longhorns

January 29, 2006

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— After beating their fierce rival, Taj Gray and two other Oklahoma players leaped onto a courtside table, played to the adoring crowd and flashed an upside-down "Hook 'Em Horns" sign.

Terrell Everett scored 25, Gray added 22, and the No. 24 Sooners exploited LaMarcus Aldridge's second-half foul trouble to beat fourth-ranked Texas, 82-72, Saturday night and snap the Longhorns' nine-game winning streak.

"This is the game that you want to play in. This is the game that you want to win," Gray said. "You couldn't ask for much more than to be out there on the floor."

Everett and Michael Neal combined for 11 points to put the Sooners (13-4 overall, 4-2 Big 12 Conference) in control after they had allowed the Longhorns to erase a seven-point deficit.

Aldridge, who scored 22, left the game for the first time at the nine-minute mark after picking up his fourth foul. Kevin Bookout exploited Aldridge's absence for a layup, and Everett put back Gray's fast-break miss for a 60-50 lead.

"When he got those early fouls in the second half, we said, 'Go right after him. When you catch it, just go to the basket and try to get another foul on him,"' Gray said.

After a three-pointer by Daniel Gibson, Gray stretched the lead to 12 with a two-handed, alley-oop jam and a three-point play off a turnaround jumper in the lane.

Kenton Paulino drew Texas (17-3, 5-1) within 65-58 with a pair of free throws and a three-pointer, but the Longhorns were unable to capitalize on other opportunities down the stretch.

"We're better than we played tonight," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "I've said all along, 'We've got to improve. We need to continue to get better.' I think this group has responded all year. I'll be disappointed if we don't try to improve."

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