NORMAN -- Kevin Durant's one season at Texas was filled with highlights. But Durant and the Longhorns never played defense like this team. With Durant sitting behind the bench, the Longhorns' suffocating defense dominated from the opening tip to help No. 3 Texas cruise to a 68-52 win over Oklahoma Wednesday night at Lloyd Noble Center.
Invited to attend the game free of charge due to the recent snow storm, fans packed Lloyd Noble Center. An estimated crowd of 12,000 witnessed what many are labeling the best defense in Texas coach Rick Barnes' 13 seasons in Austin. "Their defense is very good," said OU coach Jeff Capel. "They can pressure you. They're big. They have a lot of length. They can get up in the passing lanes. That affected us." Texas (21-3) has won all nine conference games by double digits and has started conference play 9-0 for the first time in 33 years, dating back the Southwest Conference. The 16-point win was Texas' largest winning margin over OU in Norman. "Texas is very good," Capel said. "They're the best team we've played all year, by far. They have all the ingredients to really make a deep run (in March). I thought we competed. They're just better than us." Led by a game-high 20 points from Jordan Hamilton, who drained three 3-pointers and also consistently scored in the paint, the Longhorns jumped out to a 16-4 lead, led by as many as 22 points and were up by double digits the final 35 minutes. Andrew Fitzgerald scored 16 points and Steven Pledger (13 points) to lead the Sooners (12-11, 4-5) who played catch-up from the start. "It was a good win," Barnes said. "I told our team coming in I'm not sure any team has improved more than Oklahoma. We were good tonight. Defensively we were real good." All five Texas starters scored in double figures for the first time this season. But it's defense, arguably the best defense in the country, that could help the Longhorns earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns have held nine conference opponents to 54.0 points and 36.2 percent shooting. The Sooners shot 32.1 percent. Texas is ranked third nationally in field goal percentage defense. "Their bench is really good," said OU senior guard Cade Davis. Box score
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