McClellan leads Men's Basketball past Oklahoma, 72-64
Feb. 29, 2012
AUSTIN, TEXAS (AP) - Freshman Sheldon McClellan scored a career-high 24 points and Texas rallied to a 72-64 win over Oklahoma on Wednesday night, avoiding what could have been a devastating blow to the Longhorns' NCAA tournament hopes.
McClellan's 3-pointer gave Texas (19-11, 9-8) its first lead, 59-58, with about six minutes left. He had a dunk in an 8-0 Texas burst in the final three minutes that opened a comfortable lead.
The win guarantees Texas will finish at least .500 in the Big 12, a critical mark for a team hoping to make its 14th consecutive tournament appearance. Texas closes the regular season Saturday at No. 3 Kansas.
Texas has won six in a row over Oklahoma (14-14, 4-13) and 13 of the last 15 meetings.
Romero Osby led Oklahoma with 14 points.
TEXAS COACH Rick Barnes
On the win: We started the game the exact opposite way that we wanted to. The first six possessions we shot five threes, though we knew that we would have a chance to shoot the three. But, something we have talked about the last few weeks is making them guard us and not settle (for a shot) which is what we were doing. We were too excited, and everyone was trying to make a play. Until right before the game, we didn't know if Julien (Lewis) could play, and I did not think Sheldon (McClellan) was ready at the start. Sterling Gibbs' minutes were huge tonight, Jaylen Bondhad a huge rebound, J'Covan (Brown) really finished the game well and Myck (Kabongo) had a huge steal there at the end. These guys have been doing it all year. When they need to get it done, they do it.
On limiting Oklahoma's offense in the second half:You have to give (Oklahoma Guard) Cameron Clark credit because he came in and made some things happen. We came in the second half and told the guys (after the timeout) that they have 16 minutes that might define their entire life. They fought through it and got some things done.
On Jaylen Bond and Sterling Gibbs:That was a big rebound at the end for Jaylen. I thought he really shot that foul-line jump shot with some confidence. Sterling (Gibbs) has played so much better over the last couple weeks. They came right at him at the beginning of the second half, but we told him to stand in front of the guy. He has great offensive instincts, and he doesn't go looking for trouble.
On the seniors, Alexis Wangmene and Clint Chapman:Those two guys have been here for five years. Before the game, we told these freshmen that all of this that they are going through this year, these guys have done it for five. Even last night at our meeting, Myck (Kabongo) made a really good point that some way, somehow, we need to win this game for these guys. I think that's the respect that they have earned from these younger guys.
TEXAS PLAYER QUOTES
JUNIOR GUARD J'Covan Brown
On hitting big shots down the final stretch:I just knew I had to come through. I was missing shots early, but wasn't getting frustrated at all. [Head] Coach [Rick Barnes] told me to keep shooting, and it was going to go in. I kept shooting it and kept getting aggressive.
On OU's defense leaving the corner three-pointers open:The 3-2 (zone), yes. With the biggest screener on the outside, we knew the corners were going to be open. You can see by [freshman guard] Sheldon [McClellan] running to the base line and how many threes we got there that it was open. He did a great job of doing that. Next time, we have to shoot a better percentage from there.
On how the urgency they played with tonight will affect them in March:We knew we had to get stops to close the game. We came down and made some shots. [Freshman guard] Myck [Kabongo] got a big steal that lead to a Sheldon dunk. We knew we had to find momentum from somewhere. Myck started it off and we made the run from there. We just have to be ready for whatever they throw at us.
FRESHMAN GUARD Myck Kabongo
On picking up early fouls in the first half and changing his defensive style in the second:I was playing the personnel a little better. I was guarding their best player. I was trying to not let him catch the ball in the best way that I could. Teammates were calling screens for me, and we did a great job of getting the ball out of his hands when he was coming off the pick-and-roll. That really helped me. The key was to not pick up the easy fouls that I usually get.
On having only one point but nine assists: These two guys right here (J'Covan Brown, Sheldon McClellan) picked me up. I was having the worst shooting night of my life. It happens, and when you have these two guys who are on fire, it makes my job a lot easier and makes me look good. If it weren't for these two guys, I would be in big trouble right now. It feels good to have them carry a lot of the load of the offense for our team. They stepped up big. We just have to continue this ride.
FRESHMAN GUARD Sheldon McClellan
On the success he had from the corner three-point spot:I think it was just anticipation and just being in the right spots at the right time. I was not trying to do too much.
On coming into the game with a need-to-score mentality:When my shots were open, I took them and was real aggressive. I got discouraged in the first half when I missed early shots, but the coaches told me to keep shooting, and that's what I did in the second half.
HEAD COACH LON KRUGER
Opening Statement:I thought the team did a lot of good things but not enough good things to beat a Texas club, especially here. We had a lot of good possessions, especially in the first half. The first half got to a good start but in the second half, when Texas went on a run, we had a lot of possessions that were not good. With that, Texas did a good job of getting second shots, collecting loose balls and turning those into buckets. (Sheldon) McClellan had a great night. We have good weapons, but we have to continue to do things better. We have to take care of the ball and play with a more physical presence.
Any time you're on the road, you need a margin if you can create one, especially in the second half where I thought we gave away too many possessions...possessions where we did not get good shots, good looks, or just did not execute things well. Texas took advantage of that by getting second-shot buckets. We did not rebound well on our end and we lost loose balls. We just have to stick our nose in more aggressively.
On Texas' ability to get the open look to the base line:They had (Sheldon) McClellan, yet Brown got a couple (open shots). They were setting screens with their big guys on the base line and trying to get McClellan or Brown extra tension at the top. McClellan and Brown then stepped up there to make big baskets at critical times. I give credit to both of them for that.
On losing the lead late in the game: Any time you are on the road with a good ball club like Texas, you would like to take advantage of the good start that we had. They were able to cut into it and get the game down to four (points) at the half. We widened it (the lead) back out in the second half but we could not sustain it.