On Tuesday night, the Oklahoma Sooners fell short in a back-and-forth battle against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-8, 5-4), losing 69-61. With the loss, OU drops to 14-8 on the season, 4-5 in Big 12 play.
As a team, the Sooners were pretty horrendous from three-point range, going 6-24 on 25% shooting. Juniors Brady Manek and Austin Reaves accounted for 19 and 16 points, respectively, which is a bad sign for this team because two players shouldn’t be producing over half of the final score.
The first half of this one seemingly played out in slow-motion with both sides using time-consuming possessions on offense. Because of that, Oklahoma was able to keep the eager Texas Tech crowd from playing much of a factor. Meanwhile, the Sooners went toe-to-toe with the Red Raiders on the scoreboard, as neither side was able to build any substantial leads or runs. Manek was once again the go-to guy for OU, as his 13 points led all scorers through 20 minutes. At the break, Lon Kruger’s squad held a slim 31-30 advantage over TTU.
Both teams were visibly more energetic to start the second half, and it was apparent that the Red Raiders were playing with a heightened sense of urgency after getting outplayed by the Sooners in the first. Oklahoma weathered the early Texas Tech storm with a back-to-back threes by freshman point guard De’Vion Harmon and sophomore shooting guard Jamal Bieniemy. Unfortunately for OU, TTU’s surge would last for the rest of the night, and by the end of the game it looked like a team on a mission to get back to the front of the Big Dance conversation.
In the final minute, Chris Beard’s team began to pull away once and for all, winning by eight in a game that was in all reality closer than the final score indicated.
Senior forward Kristian Doolittle is clearly in a scoring slump after logging just eight points in Lubbock. Through his first 15 games played in the season, the veteran Sooner was only kept under double digits once. Including this game, he’s now been held under 10 points in five consecutive contests, with an average of just 7.2 ppg. Considering the tough conference road ahead for Oklahoma, he’ll have to pick up his play considerably if OU wants to return to the NCAA Tournament in March.
Up next, Oklahoma returns home to the friendly confines of the Lloyd Noble Center to host West Virginia on Saturday, Feb. 8. The Sooners have lost five of the last six meetings against the Mountaineers dating back to 2017, but are also 8-1 in Norman this season. Something will have to give in this pivotal Big 12 matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
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