AUSTIN, Texas — De'Vion Harmon's long-held dream finally came to fruition.
The Denton, Texas native aspired to play against Oklahoma’s archrival, Texas. And the Sooner freshman’s first opportunity arrived at Frank Erwin Center Wednesday evening.
OU hadn’t won in Austin since 2015, yet Harmon in his first try, experienced a Sooner victory that deflated a Texas home crowd of 8,805 spectators.
“To be able to come into Austin and get a win,” he said, “I don't think there's anything better than that right now.”
Harmon scored nine points to go with three boards and three steals in a 72-62 win over the Longhorns.
Although, Harmon might have envisioned his Red River Rivalry debut would be accompanied by a different role.
The former Rivals.com top-50 prospect is accustomed to being a starter, and he was the first 10 games of his OU career.
Sooner head coach Lon Kruger removed him from the starting five, in favor of fellow frosh Alondes William, following OU's 83-73 loss to Creighton on Dec. 17.
Harmon's appeared in each game since as a reserve and has played at least 20 minutes in each of those outings. But the freshman guard admits, it took time to acclimate to not seeing the floor from the opening tip.
“I can't lie, it's been an adjustment because I've been a starter most of my life, since I've been playing basketball,” Harmon said. “But I'm a basketball player. I can adjust.”
Kruger has said in recent weeks he likes the energy Harmon brings as a bench player. And Harmon’s accepted it.
“Just do whatever my team needs me to do,” he said.
So, here’s what Harmon did with his minutes against the Longhorns.
The programs were tied with 10 minutes left in the second half when Harmon poked the ball away from Texas’ Courtney Ramey.
Harmon said afterward he thought his shoulder made contact with the Longhorns guard. But he dodged a foul call and raced two defenders — Jase Febres and Jericho Sims — down the floor to OU’s basket.
The Texas players forced Harmon to get creative in transition. The end result was a reverse layup that put the Sooners ahead 50-48.
A few minutes later, Harmon had another key defensive possession.
He stole the ball away from Febres but no one caught Harmon at the other end. He scored two and put the Sooners ahead by five.
“I was just in rhythm,” he said.
Harmon's nine points were his most since scoring 14 against Wichita State on Dec. 14 and raised his scoring average to 8.0 per game.
Harmon's three steals matched a career-high. He's up to 19 so far this season and has recorded at least one steal in his last four games.
And for OU, it saw one of its better collective efforts from Harmon’s performance to Kristian Doolittle's game-high 22 points, Jamal Bieniemy's team second-best 11 and Austin Reaves' 10 as another road trip looms this weekend.
“We're 2-0 so far,” Harmon said. “We've got Iowa State on Saturday. So, starting or coming off the bench, you still got to go out there and you still gotta play. There's going to be a game to play, and you gotta be ready to go.”
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Oklahoma at Iowa State
• When: 7 p.m., Saturday
• Where: Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa
• TV: ESPN2
• Radio: KRXO-FM 107.7
Buettner writes for The Norman Transcript, a CNHI News Service publication.