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Michael Thomas, Associated Press
Texas center Clint Chapman, left, goes for the rebound against Oklahoma forward C.J. Washington during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in Austin, Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas — 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.

J'Covan Brown, the Big 12's leading scorer, added 22 points for the Longhorns, who trailed by 12 early but rallied to avoid a bad loss to a Sooners team that ranks near the bottom of the Big 12 under first-year coach Lon Kruger. The Sooners have lost eight of their last nine games.

Oklahoma was in position to snatch a win over Texas if not for McClellan's big game that may have saved Texas' season. The Sooners started the game on a blistering shooting pace, making 10 of their first 15 shots. Oklahoma eventually cooled off, however, and McClellan led the Longhorns' rally.

Texas took the lead after three 3-pointers in a row: two by Brown from the left corner and another by McClellan from the right.

McClellan then missed two consecutive 3-point tries, but a basket by Johnathan Holmes put the Longhorns ahead 64-62. The Sooners missed four shots on their next possession before Brown made a tough, left-handed layup, McClellan dunked and Brown got another basket to push the Texas lead to eight with 1:31 to play.