The Oklahoma Sooners were coming off of a win at home against TCU, and heading to Lubbock to face Texas Tech. The Red Raiders, though basement-dwellers in the Big 12 conference, are a much improved team under Tubby Smith. The Sooners knew they would be in for a battle. For the most part, that was the case. Oklahoma jumped out to a double digit lead early, which it was able to hold for the majority of the first half. The Red Raiders began to claw their way back into the game in the second, but didn’t possess quite enough firepower to dethrone the No. 25 Sooners, who ended up winning by a score of 74-65.
Again, it was a collection of different Sooners carrying the scoring load. Buddy Hield led the pack with 18, but Cameron Clark was close behind, scoring 17 of his own. Next was freshman guard Jordan Woodard, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from deep and added 15 points, as well and eight assists and two steals. After that, Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins both had seven, and Tyler Neal chipped in with six. Spangler also added 10 rebounds, meaning he has logged double digits in that category in four out of his last five games.
All three of Woodard’s three pointers came in the first half, as the Sooners raced out to an early 29-16 advantage. Tech threatened to cut the lead to single digits several times, only to be thwarted in almost all of them. The first was countered by a pair of buckets from Spangler and Clark. The second was nullified by a Hield three pointer. The third attempt, however, the Red Raiders finally succeeded, cutting the lead to 38-29 just before halftime.
It would be inaccurate to say that Oklahoma came out flat in the second. The Sooners quickly grew their lead back to double digits—as high as 13—with a collective attack. However, somewhere along the way, they grew too content, and Tech began its comeback. With still 11:26 to go, the Red Raiders had already whittled the lead down to four. But Oklahoma was resilient. That was as close as the Red Raiders would ever get, as the Sooners would again push the lead to double digits, and eventually go on to win.
As a team, the Sooners were very efficient on offense. Oklahoma shot 50% from the floor and turned the ball over just seven times. They also forced several Tech miscues with their full-court pressure defense, which was unrelenting, and outscored Tech 14-3 in points off of turnovers.
Overall, this was a solid win for the Sooners. Winning a road game in the Big 12 won’t be easy, and the Sooners have already won three. Oklahoma is slowly but surely making a name for itself, now ranked second in the conference behind only Kansas. What’s scary is, as young as this team is, they may only get better.
Next up, Oklahoma (16-4, 5-2) is set to square off in a bedlam basketball matchup versus Oklahoma State (16-3, 4-2). Tip-off is set for 8 PM CST on Monday, Jan. 27 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.
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