No. 6 Texas will continue a trying month on Saturday afternoon when the Longhorns face Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., for their first game since the official firing of coach Chris Beard.
On Thursday, the university fired Beard, who had been suspended indefinitely without pay after being arrested on Dec. 12 and charged with felony domestic assault.
Texas said interim coach Rodney Terry would finish out the season in Beard’s place.
“This has been a difficult situation that we’ve been diligently working through,” athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. “Today I informed Mr. Beard of our decision to terminate him effective immediately.
“We thank Coach Rodney Terry for his exemplary leadership both on and off the court at a time when our team needed it most. We are grateful he will remain the acting head coach for the remainder of the season. We are proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, who throughout this difficult time have continued to make us proud to be Longhorns.”
Texas (12-2, 1-1 Big 12) has gone 5-1 since Beard’s arrest and suspension, the lone loss a 116-103 result at home against Kansas State on Tuesday.
The Longhorns surrendered 58 points in the first half, more than they had surrendered in five entire games this season.
Tyrese Hunter’s career-high 29 points led the Longhorns, with Marcus Carr adding 27 points, Sir’Jabari Rice tallying 16 and Timmy Allen contributing 10 in the loss, which snapped Texas’ six-game winning streak.
Texas allowed its highest point total in a Big 12 game and its highest yield overall since a 128-125 loss to Texas Tech on Feb. 19, 1994, in a Southwest Conference game.
“Our defense is a work in progress,” Terry said after the loss. “We have to take a little more ownership in trying to get better. We have to continue to try to buy in and understand that defense is going to travel and defense is going to help us win games and that’s where we’re going to really have to get better.”
Oklahoma State (9-5, 1-1) brings a head of steam into Saturday’s game following a gritty 67-60 home win over West Virginia on Monday.
Bryce Thompson led the Cowboys with 15 points while Avery Anderson III added 13 points, John-Michael Wright kicked in 11 points and Kalib Boone scored 10 for Oklahoma State, which bounced back from a two-point loss at then-No. 4 Kansas on Dec. 31.
The Cowboys survived against the Mountaineers despite blowing a 13-point second-half lead, going on a 9-1 run to move back in front in the final minutes.
“We gotta decide if we really want to be a good team,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. “If we really want to be a team that’s significant in February, March, you find a way to get the job done.”
Thompson leads the Cowboys with an average of 12.6 points per game. For Texas, Carr has team highs of 18.1 points, 4.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
–Field Level Media