NORMAN, Okla. — The Texas Tech Red Raiders just keep causing problems for the teams ahead of them in the Big 12 standings, this time holding on for dear life for a road win at the Oklahoma Sooners.
The Red Raiders led by 20 in the second half, but saw that margin shrink to three before finally grasping a 68-60 victory over the Sooners on Wednesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center.
Texas Tech guard Robert Turner scored 16 points and had five assists to lead his team to its third straight win. The Red Raiders’ victory came on the heels of their 65-61 upset of Oklahoma State on Saturday, a game that made national headlines after Cowboys guard Marcus Smart went into the stands to shove a Texas Tech fan.
The Red Raiders (13-11, 5-6 Big 12) are clearly pushing back.
With the win over the Sooners, Texas Tech, under first-year coach Tubby Smith, won three straight conference games for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
“It kind of validates and confirms that we’re doing some things well and doing things the right way,” Smith said. “It tells me some things about their heart and their toughness.”
The Sooners (18-7, 7-5) played sloppy basketball and were ice cold shooting as they watched Texas Tech build a 20-point lead early in the second half.
Oklahoma finished with 14 turnovers, including 11 in the first half when Texas Tech established a 17-point lead. Oklahoma improved to 53-percent shooting in the second half after a dismal 28-percent performance in the first half, but Texas Tech out-rebounded the Sooners, 36-29.
“Credit Texas Tech,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “I thought they were quicker on loose balls and beat us to balls on the board. They set the tone and they got the result they were after. We didn’t fight enough in the first half.”
The Red Raiders reached their largest margin on a dunk by forward Dejan Kravic with 16:40 left.
Oklahoma began shooting its way back into the game six minutes into the second half when guard Frank Booker hit a 3-pointer.
Sooners forward Tyler Neal hit a trey on the next trip down and Booker followed with another 3-pointer. Booker then came up with a steal on the defensive end and passed ahead to guard Je’Lon Hornbeak for a layup.
Hornbeak added another steal and a layup and then went to the basket and drew a foul for the three-point play that cut Texas Tech’s lead to less than 10.
Sooners guard Isaiah Cousins made it back-to-back three-point plays as Oklahoma’s game-changing 18-2 run reached its crescendo.
“We knew that they were going to come back with a lot of energy,” Turner said “We knew we had to withstand that run. And then we kind of got on a run and traded buckets with them.”
Texas Tech guard Dusty Hannahs, who finished with 10 points, hit a 3-pointer to stop the bleeding and boost the Red Raiders’ lead back to six points with 7:12 left.
Texas Tech forward Jaye Crockett scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He said Smith made a concerted effort to calm the Red Raiders during Oklahoma’s run.
“Coach (Smith) got on us and told us to stay focused because the game wasn’t over at all,” Crockett said.
Oklahoma forward Cameron Clark led the Sooners with 16 points, while guard Isaiah Cousins had 12. Hornbeak came off the bench to add nine critical points during Oklahoma’s run.
In the first half, Texas Tech turned up the defensive pressure to produce three steals, igniting a 10-0 run to take a 20-10 lead.
Turner started the surge with a steal and an assist to guard Toddrick Gotcher. Gotcher added a steal and a fast-break layup, and forward Jordan Tolbert came up with s steal and passed ahead to Turner for a dunk to cap the run.
Texas Tech posted its largest lead of the first half, 17 points, when Crockett hit two free throws with 1:25 left before halftime. At the time, of Oklahoma was in the midst of a three-minute scoring drought.
“They totally set the tone tonight,” Kruger said. “I thought they came in with a high level of confidence.”
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