STILLWATER, Okla. – No. 6 Texas took a key step toward moving past the Chris Beard era on Saturday.
Beard, who faces a felony domestic family violence charge stemming from a Dec. 12 incident involving his fiancée, was fired Thursday. Texas said in a letter to his attorney that Beard was “unfit” for the position.
With interim coach Rodney Terry at the helm, the Longhorns focused on basketball. Marcus Carr scored 12 points in Texas' 56-46 win over Oklahoma State, and Texas (13-2, 2-1 Big 12) improved to 6-1 under Terry.
“I’m proud of our guys," Terry said. “And I said to them the other day, probably more than any team in the country, this group has really stuck together and persevered through some adversity and some challenges. ... They’ve really focused on what they can control and I think just kind of locked in and enjoyed playing with each other and being around each other every day.”
Texas bounced back from Tuesday's 116-103 loss to Kansas State, despite shooting just 31.5% from the field against Oklahoma State. The Longhorns held the Cowboys to 30.4% shooting.
“We said that we needed to have a gritty team today," Terry said. "You know, the team that was going to come in and play their hardest today and really try to max out defensively was going to have a chance to win this game today.”
Kalib Boone had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks for Oklahoma State (9-6, 1-2), which narrowly lost to now-No. 3 Kansas on Dec. 31 and had a solid win over West Virginia before Saturday's loss.
Oklahoma State's Moussa Cisse, the 7-foot-1 forward who leads the Big 12 with 9.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game, missed the game with an ankle injury.
“We missed him throughout the overall game, both offense and defense," guard John-Michael Wright said. “He’s a big presence.”
Texas led 32-24 at halftime despite shooting 32.1% before the break. Eight Longhorns scored in the first half, but none posted more than five points. Texas held Oklahoma State to 33.3% shooting and outscored the Cowboys 12-7 from the free-throw line in the first 20 minutes.
An alley-oop dunk by Boone cut Texas' lead to 43-41, and Caleb Asberry followed with a 3-pointer that finally gave the Cowboys a 44-43 lead with 8:20 remaining.
Oklahoma State didn't make another field goal. A 3-pojnter by Texas' Brock Cunningham with about two minutes remaining put the Longhorns up 53-46, the highlight of their 12-1 run over the final six minutes to end the game.
Texas: It was a good defensive effort for the Longhorns coming off a game in which they gave up the most points they had ever allowed in a Big 12 game.
“We won this game on Thursday, not today on Saturday," Terry said. "We won it back in Austin. You know, we came off a tough loss at home and we didn’t play very good defense in that ballgame and kind of got away from our identity.”
Oklahoma State: Even without one of their top players, the Cowboys hung tough against a top-10 team that had been averaging 84.1 points per game.
Even without Cisse, Oklahoma State blocked 12 shots. Boone's six swats matched a career high and forward Tyreek Smith matched his career best with three.
Texas: Hosts TCU on Wednesday.
Oklahoma State: Visits Kansas State on Tuesday.
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