It would’ve been hard to imagine Oklahoma winning a game like this a month ago.

The Sooners had Buddy Hield, Cam Clark and Jordan Woodard go a combined 3 of 15 from the floor in the first half, Clark and Ryan Spangler sat out big stretches of the half with foul trouble and Texas outscored OU by 20 in the paint.

But Oklahoma showed its improvement, pulling off a 77-65 win over the Longhorns in front of an estimated 9,107 at the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday afternoon.

The wins keeps Oklahoma’s hopes for second place in the Big 12 alive.

The Sooner offense has rolled along all year, but its defense was questionable for large stretches.

But OU forced 16 Texas turnovers and converted those into 23 points.

Isaiah Cousins has been a big piece in Oklahoma’s defensive resurgence, and he continued that against the Longhorns.

Cousins had three steals and turned them all into points at the other end. Twice, Cousins scored himself within moments of forcing the steal.

“It just came with the game,” Cousins said. “I was very aggressive on defense and we got steals. We were just at the right spot at the right time.”

The Sooners are in the right spot a lot more lately.

“These guys have made a ton of progress defensively,” Sooner coach Lon Kruger said. “Isaiah kind of took responsibility on the perimeter to toughen us up and play with greater purpose and greater significance and the other guys fed off that.”

Cousins had his best offensive day with the Sooners, scoring a career-high 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

They overcame the early foul trouble with yet another solid performance from the bench.

After Spangler left with his second foul just more than six minutes in, the Sooners scored nine quick points.

Hield hit a 3-pointer to put the Sooners ahead for the first time, then Frank Booker and Je’lon Hornbeak followed with consecutive 3-pointers.

A few moments later, Tyler Neal followed with a four-point play of his own.

After scoring 22 or more points just six times in Oklahoma’s first 22 games, the Sooner bench has topped the mark six times in its last seven games. OU’s reserves scored 23 against the Longhorns.

Hield bounced back from his rough start to finish with 17 points, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers early in the second half.