COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The ear-splitting crowd had been quieted. For a brief moment, the loudest noise inside the Reed Arena on Tuesday night came from the Oklahoma bench. A few feet away, from the deep left wing, Tommy Mason-Griffin had drained a 3-pointer to officially erase a 10-point halftime deficit to give the OU men’s basketball team its first lead midway through the second half.
It wouldn’t hold. The night ended without a third consecutive Big 12 victory for the Sooners, who lost to Texas A&M in front of a season-high 11,109 fans.
OU dropped to 11-7 overall and 2-2 in Big 12 play.
“We dug ourselves a hole, but I was proud of my guys,” said Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel. “We’ve grown up since the last time we were on the road. We came out in the second half ready to fight.”
With under 10 seconds to play, a short Mason-Griffin miss that would have put OU on top rimmed out, sinking the Sooners’ chances at escaping with its first conference road win.
The crowd roared once more, drowning out the referee’s whistle for a last-ditch foul by Willie Warren.
“We had a great look, and a great look by a kid, who, in my opinion, was the best player on the floor tonight,” Capel said. “He just missed it.”
Mason-Griffin’s miss meant he wouldn’t add to his career-high 21 points, and the Sooners wouldn’t provide a fourth lead change in the game’s final 80 seconds. Instead, they were forced to execute a frenzied, full-court inbounds play that ended with an interception and the night’s loudest moment. Texas A&M guard Donald Sloan heaved the ball toward the overhanging scoreboard and shook hands with the Sooners before heading into the student section (whose 5,544 members were the third-largest in school history) to celebrate his team-high 16 points and an Aggie victory.
“Our guys knew how important this game was, they knew in the end we had to have it,” said Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon. “And in the end, they got it done.”
The Aggies avoided a third consecutive loss in conference play. They were coming off an overtime loss to rival Texas, the nation’s No. 1 team, on Saturday.
Texas A&M guard Dash Harris hit a jump shot and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to turn a 60-56 deficit into a 61-60 lead entering the game’s final minute.
The lead was the Aggies first since Oklahoma raced to a 23-6 run early in the first half. The Sooners punctuated the run with an alley-oop layup from Mason-Griffin to Warren to put Oklahoma up 54-47 with just over 10 minutes to play.
“Our body language was bad, and they were in complete control,” Turgeon said, noting his players’ hanging heads.
But the Aggie defense tightened and held the Sooners without a field goal for the game’s final 3:45. Warren scored 14 points before fouling out with 3.5 seconds to play. He missed a 15-foot jumpshot to take the lead with 16 seconds left.
“I think we showed some maturity here,” said junior guard Cade Davis. “Being down 10 at the half, coming out, being aggressive and going on the run we did showed some character.”