Sims leads No. 15 Texas past No. 16 Oklahoma 69-65

The Oklahoman-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services LLC

NORMAN, Okla. – Texas coach Shaka Smart and forward Jericho Sims were powerless when Oklahoma beat the Longhorns earlier this season.

Smart was recovering from COVID-19 and Sims was among several Longhorns who were unavailable when the Sooners won the first matchup by a point.

Both were available for the rematch, and Sims matched season highs with 16 points and 12 rebounds to help No. 15 Texas beat No. 16 Oklahoma 69-65 on Thursday night.

Smart remembered how it felt watching the first matchup.

“It was very upsetting,” he said. “Watching that game was one of the worst basketball experiences of my life because I just felt helpless and I knew our team was just less than whole.”

This time, the Longhorns had the depth they needed. Their relative good health has helped them win three of their past four games.

“This time of year, the best teams that make it far in the NCAA Tournament are playing in the best rhythm,” said guard Courtney Ramey, who also was unavailable for the first matchup. “It’s about just getting in a rhythm as a team and solidifying what we want to do each and every game. Today was a good step in the right direction of what we want to do.”

Andrew Jones added 16 points for the Longhorns (16-7, 10-6 Big 12),

Austin Reaves scored 16 points and Alondes Williams and Brady Manek each added 13 for the Sooners. Oklahoma (14-9, 9-8) has lost four straight games by a combined 17 points.

“Obviously, again, very similar to the last couple,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Super disappointing result. First half, Texas dictated. I thought second half, certainly, a different level of intensity to come back and take the lead. Again, have to do some things better for 40 minutes. No question about that. Texas is awfully good, and you can’t afford to not play 40 minutes against them.”

The Longhorns got loose on a fast break late in the first half, and Jones’ one-handed jam put Texas up 41-30. Reaves banked in a deep 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to cut Texas’ lead to 44-34.

Oklahoma went on a 7-0 run early in the second half to cut Texas’ lead to five.

Oklahoma center Kur Kuath’s block sparked a fast break, and Reaves’ putback cut the Texas lead to 53-50. A steal and layup by Elijah Harkless cut Texas’ lead to one, and a two-handed jam on the fast break by De’Vion Harmon finally gave the Sooners the lead with just under eight minutes to play.

The game came down to the final minute. After Texas’ Matt Coleman III drained a short jumper with 12 seconds left to put the Longhorns up four, Reaves got a quick layup with six seconds remaining. The Sooners fouled Greg Brown, and the freshman made two free throws with four seconds remaining to put the game out of reach.

Coleman was 0 for 5 from the field with five turnovers before he made the shot in the final minute.

“Matt Coleman had a tough, tough night,” Smart said. “He looked tired, he looked a little down. But he responded and made a huge shot for us, which is what high character guys do.”

Just a few weeks ago, Oklahoma was ranked seventh in the nation. Now, the Sooners will have to play a first-round game in the Big 12 Tournament.

“We’ve just got to let this loss get past us and just focus on the future,” Williams said.


Texas: The Longhorns are peaking at the right time. Their size and athletic ability caused problems for the Sooners, and those things could carry them far in the postseason.

Oklahoma: The offense got bogged down, and the Sooners shot just 37% in the game. They aren’t playing horrible basketball, they are just coming up a bit short.

“The margin is small,” Kruger said. “It’s one play here, one play there. I don’t think we’re playing much differently than when we won seven out of eight. We’ve got to finish games differently. Those games we did finish, these games we haven’t.”


Kuath entered the game with 12:23 remaining and the Sooners down six, but he sparked a rally and immediately allowed the Sooners to match Texas’ athletic ability. The senior had two blocks and three rebounds in 12 minutes and was one of just two Sooners to finish with a positive plus/minus score.

“They really turned up their defensive intensity,” Smart said. “I thought Kur Kuath was phenomenal on defense for them and changed the game.”


Texas visits TCU on Sunday.

Oklahoma will play in the Big 12 Tournament.

North Carolina transfer Caleb Love commits to Arizona

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

Caleb Love is now headed to Arizona.

The North Carolina transfer tweeted, less than a month after decommitting from Michigan, that he will play next season with the Wildcats.

“Caleb is a tremendously talented guard who has significant experience playing college basketball at a high level,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said in a statement. “We look forward to helping Caleb grow his game at Arizona. And as we near the completion of the roster for the upcoming season, we feel great about how everything has come together. Now it’s time for the real work to start.”

A 6-foot-4 guard, Love averaged 14.6 points and 3.3 assists in three seasons at North Carolina. He averaged 17.6 points in seven NCAA Tournament games, helping lead the Tar Heels to the 2022 national championship game.

Love entered the transfer portal after leading North Carolina with 73 3-pointers as a junior and initially committed to Michigan. He decommitted from the Wolverines earlier this month, reportedly due to an admissions issue involving academic credits.

Love narrowed his transfer targets to three schools before choosing to play at Arizona over Gonzaga and Texas.

Love will likely start on a team that will have dynamic perimeter players, including Pelle Larsson, Kylan Boswell and Alabama transfer Jaden Bradley.

Biden celebrates LSU women’s and UConn men’s basketball teams at separate White House events


WASHINGTON – All of the past drama and sore feelings associated with Louisiana State’s invitation to the White House were seemingly forgotten or set aside Friday as President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed the championship women’s basketball team to the mansion with smiles, hugs and lavish praise all around.

The visit had once appeared in jeopardy after Jill Biden suggested that the losing Iowa team be invited, too. But none of that was mentioned as both Bidens heralded the players for their performance and the way they have helped advance women’s sports.

“Folks, we witnessed history,” the president said. “In this team, we saw hope, we saw pride and we saw purpose. It matters.”

The ceremony was halted for about 10 minutes after forward Sa’Myah Smith appeared to collapse as she and her teammates stood behind Biden. A wheelchair was brought in and coach Kim Mulkey assured the audience that Smith was fine.

LSU said in a statement that Smith felt overheated, nauseous and thought she might faint. She was evaluated by LSU and White House medical staff and was later able to rejoin the team. “She is feeling well, in good spirits, and will undergo further evaluation once back in Baton Rouge,” the LSU statement said.

Since the passage of Title IX in 1972, Biden said, more than half of all college students are women, and there are now 10 times more female athletes in college and high school. He said most sports stories are still about men, and that that needs to change.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

“Folks, we need to support women sports, not just during the championship run but during the entire year,” President Biden said.

After the Tigers beat Iowa for the NCAA title in April in a game the first lady attended, she caused an uproar by suggesting that the Hawkeyes also come to the White House.

LSU star Angel Reese called the idea “A JOKE” and said she would prefer to visit with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, instead. The LSU team largely is Black, while Iowa’s top player, Caitlin Clark, is white, as are most of her teammates.

Nothing came of Jill Biden’s idea and the White House only invited the Tigers. Reese ultimately said she would not skip the White House visit. She and co-captain Emily Ward presented team jerseys bearing the number “46” to Biden and the first lady. Hugs were exchanged.

Jill Biden also lavished praise on the team, saying the players showed “what it means to be a champion.”

“In this room, I see the absolute best of the best,” she said, adding that watching them play was “pure magic.”

“Every basket was pure joy and I kept thinking about how far women’s sports have come,” the first lady added, noting that she grew up before Title IX was passed. “We’ve made so much progress and we still have so much more work to do.”

The president added that “the way in which women’s sports has come along is just incredible. It’s really neat to see, since I’ve got four granddaughters.”

After Smith was helped to a wheelchair, Mulkey told the audience the player was OK.

“As you can see, we leave our mark where we go,” Mulkey joked. “Sa’Myah is fine. She’s kind of, right now, embarrassed.”

A few members of Congress and Biden aides past and present with Louisiana roots dropped what they were doing to attend the East Room event, including White House budget director Shalanda Young. Young is in the thick of negotiations with House Republicans to reach a deal by the middle of next week to stave off what would be a globally calamitous U.S. financial default if the U.S. can no longer borrow the money it needs to pay its bills.

The president, who wore a necktie in the shade of LSU’s purple, said Young, who grew up in Baton Rouge, told him, “I’m leaving the talks to be here.” Rep. Garret Graves, one of the House GOP negotiators, also attended.

Biden closed sports Friday by changing to a blue tie and welcoming the UConn’s men’s championship team for its own celebration. The Huskies won their fifth national title by defeating San Diego State, 76-59, in April.

“Congratulations to the whole UConn nation,” he said.

Marquette’s Prosper says he will stay in draft rather than returning to school

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

MILWAUKEE — Olivier-Maxence Prosper announced he is keeping his name under NBA draft consideration rather than returning to Marquette.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decision.

“Thank you Marquette nation, my coaches, my teammates and support staff for embracing me from day one,” Prosper said in an Instagram post. “My time at Marquette has been incredible. With that being said, I will remain in the 2023 NBA Draft. I’m excited for what comes next. On to the next chapter…”

Prosper had announced last month he was entering the draft. He still could have returned to school and maintained his college eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by May 31. Prosper’s announcement indicates he instead is going ahead with his plans to turn pro.

Prosper averaged 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season while helping Marquette go 29-7 and win the Big East’s regular-season and tournament titles. Marquette’s season ended with a 69-60 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.

He played two seasons at Marquette after transferring from Clemson, where he spent one season.

Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr. returning for last season of eligibility

kansas mccullar
Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports

Kevin McCullar Jr. said that he will return to Kansas for his final year of eligibility, likely rounding out a roster that could make the Jayhawks the preseason No. 1 next season.

McCullar transferred from Texas Tech to Kansas for last season, when he started 33 of 34 games and averaged 10.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. He was also among the nation’s leaders in steals, and along with being selected to the Big 12’s all-defensive team, the 6-foot-6 forward was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

“To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the nation, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog,” McCullar said in announcing his return.

Along with McCullar, the Jayhawks return starters Dajuan Harris Jr. and K.J. Adams from a team that went 28–8, won the Big 12 regular-season title and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to Arkansas in the second round.

Perhaps more importantly, the Jayhawks landed Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, widely considered the best player in the portal, to anchor a lineup that was missing a true big man. They also grabbed former five-star prospect Arterio Morris, who left Texas, and Towson’s Nick Timberlake, who emerged last season as one of the best 3-point shooters in the country.

The Jayhawks also have an elite recruiting class arriving that is headlined by five-star recruit Elmarko Jackson.

McCullar declared for the draft but, after getting feedback from scouts, decided to return. He was a redshirt senior last season, but he has another year of eligibility because part of his career was played during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “Kevin is not only a terrific player but a terrific teammate. He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”

Clemson leading scorer Hall withdraws from NBA draft, returns to Tigers

clemson pj hall
Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson leading scorer PJ Hall is returning to college after withdrawing from the NBA draft on Thursday.

The 6-foot-10 forward took part in the NBA combine and posted his decision to put off the pros on social media.

Hall led the Tigers with 15.3 points per game this past season. He also led the Tigers with 37 blocks, along with 5.7 rebounds. Hall helped Clemson finish third in the Atlantic Coast Conference while posting a program-record 14 league wins.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Hall gained experience from going through the NBA’s combine that will help the team next season. “I’m counting on him and others to help lead a very talented group,” he said.

Hall was named to the all-ACC third team last season as the Tigers went 23-10.