Texas coach Chris Beard has been through the grind of a Big 12 schedule plenty of times.
So after back-to-back performances that left plenty to be desired, Beard isn’t about to get flustered heading into Tuesday’s home matchup between his No. 21 Longhorns and Oklahoma in Austin, Texas, saying “there’s no time for anger” in the Big 12.
“You stay the course. You don’t get too high. You don’t get too low,” Beard said. “You continue to tell the truth, though. And you work on things. And the truth is, we’ve got a lot to work on in the offensive end and the defensive end right now.
“But now, you stay the course, you stay poised, you stay composed.”
Texas is coming off a lackluster 64-51 loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday, where the Longhorns didn’t show much aggression at all.
Texas (12-3, 2-1 Big 12) hasn’t attempted a first-half free throw in consecutive games. In Saturday’s loss, they didn’t make it to the line until less than 13 minutes remained.
But Beard is confident his team can get back the aggression that helped fuel the start of the Longhorns’ six-game winning streak that was snapped with the loss to the Cowboys, and gave Texas the nation’s top scoring defense heading into Big 12 play.
“You know, it’s prince today, frog tomorrow,” Beard said. “This is what playing, coaching at this level is like. We’ve got a lot of leadership, we’ve got a lot of care factor in that locker room. We’ve got a lot of players that I believe in. I think we’ll be back.”
They’ll need to bounce back quickly to beat a Sooners team coming off a 79-66 win over then-No. 11 Iowa State on Saturday.
Oklahoma’s defense has plenty of bite as well, holding the Cyclones to 5 of 17 from the floor down the stretch and keeping Iowa State to just two offensive rebounds.
All season, Sooners coach Porter Moser has talked about developing depth beyond his starting five.
Freshman reserve point guard Bijan Cortes showed Oklahoma’s growth in that area in Saturday’s game.
Cortes came into the game with 9:30 remaining and the Cyclones up five, and never came out. He had four points, five assists and three rebounds the rest of the way, assisting three times on buckets by Jacob Groves, another Sooners reserve.
“It’s so fun playing with a point guard like that who sees the floor the way he does and makes the passes that he makes,” Groves said of Cortes. “He’s not scared. As a freshman especially, he made some big-time plays.
“That was awesome to see.”
The Sooners (12-3, 2-1) have beaten the Longhorns each of the past two seasons in Austin and if they are to win a third consecutive game at Texas — something they haven’t done since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996 — the bench figures to play a big role once again.
“It’s going to be a huge game where we’re going to need myself, Bijan, C.J. (Noland),” Groves said. “We’re going to need a spark off the bench.”
–Field Level Media