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Updated: Saturday, February 22, 2003 9:41 PM EST
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(16) Oklahoma St 82, (4) Texas 77
Texas Longhorns
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STILLWATER, Oklahoma (Ticker) -- Victor Williams may have been the second-best point guard on the floor, but he showed just how valuable he is to Oklahoma State.

Williams scored 20 points, including a key 3-pointer to stymie a late rally, as the 16th-ranked Cowboys held on for an 82-77 Big 12 Conference victory over fourth-ranked Texas, which got a career-high 32 points from T.J. Ford.

Oklahoma State (20-5, 9-3 Big 12) shot 61 percent from the field in the first half in building a commanding 47-33 lead behind 13 points from Williams. Ford did everything he could to bring Texas back with 21 points in the second half.

"Going out and playing against a great guard like he is brings more out in a point guard with a lot of competitive spirit," Williams said. "We know that they have a great guard on their team and I was just trying to do the best that I could."

Williams picked up his fourth foul guarding Ford with 14:44 remaining and was forced to the bench as Texas (18-5, 9-3) made its charge. Ford's jumper with 3:43 left capped a 9-0 surge that cut the deficit to 70-69.

Williams responded with a momentum-killing 3-pointer and scored all seven of his second-half points in the final minute. He sank four foul shots in the last 26 seconds.

"I thought when Victor Williams came in there and hit that big shot that it was the play of the game," Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton said.

Melvin Sanders contributed 19 points and Tony Allen, who was averaging just 8.0 points in his last four games, netted 16 for Oklahoma State.

"He (Allen) needs to let the game come to him," Sutton said. "We just tried to settle him down and let him know that he doesn't have to do everything."

A free throw by Ford cut the deficit to 76-74 with 50 seconds left and Williams missed a jumper on the other end. But the rebound came to the Cowboys, and Williams was fouled with 27 seconds left.

Thomas collected 21 points and 17 rebounds for Texas, which held a 36-32 edge on the glass. Brandon Mouton scored 19 points, but the rest of the team combined for only five.

"We can't have three guys carrying the load for us," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We didn't get a lot from some guys we normally can count on."

The Cowboys pulled into a third-place tie with the Longhorns.

"We had no chance to get into the league race unless we won today," Sutton said.

Oklahoma State got off to a 9-2 lead and never trailed as it used terrific shooting in the first half. A 3-pointer by Williams provided the Cowboys' first double-digit advantage at 26-15 with just under seven minutes left.

Williams' 3-pointer with 2:49 remaining gave Oklahoma State its biggest lead at 39-24. The Cowboys drilled 9-of-17 3-pointers in the first half.

"They came out and made tough shots," Ford said. "We really tried to get after them defensively, but Sanders, their inside players and Victor all hit big shots."

Ford's 15-foot jumper cut the deficit to 55-49 with 13:14 left. The Cowboys rebuilt the margin to 70-60 on two foul shots by Tony Allen with six minutes remaining.

Ford responded to Williams' big first half by driving the ball and getting fouled. He made 15-of-19 free throws as Texas shot 66 percent (23-of-35).

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