Norman, OK – Oklahoma has been reeling, losing three straight in Big 12 play, including a painful one point loss at home to #17 Iowa State. They were home in Norman, Oklahoma with another chance to get back in the win column this afternoon. It wasn’t to be, as Texas Tech prevailed 66-54.
The Texas Tech defense has been excellent all season, currently leading the Big 12 in scoring defense as well as total scoring margin. The team is long, athletic, and disciplined on that end of the floor, and today they showed again what they are capable of. Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens were responsible for a lot of the defensive pressure; Mooney logged four steals while Owens protected the paint with four blocks.
The Sooners trailed 35-24 at the break due to 28 percent shooting from the field and allowing Tech to hit 7-of-15 from three. They were able to string together some good runs in the second half cutting the lead to nine points at one point. Brady Manek and Christian James both recorded 11 points but with only three second-chance points the entire game, there wasn’t enough in the tank to come back. As the Red Raiders prevailed by 12 points. Head Coach Chris Beard said after the game that he likes the direction of his team and the improvements they are making, and that he hopes they continue to do so throughout the rest of the season.
An unsung hero for the Red Raiders today was guard Mooney. The graduate transfer from South Dakota has been an important piece of Tech’s success this season, averaging 10.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 23 games. He made life difficult for every ball handler in his path today thanks to deceptively quick feet and relentless effort. At 6’3 and 200 pounds, combined with a 6’7 wingspan, he’s strong enough to hold his own all over the floor.
NBA Draft prospect Jarrett Culver Texas Tech didn’t have his best performance today. He scored 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting and didn’t have a single rebound. Part of this could be due to one of his only weaknesses at the moment, a slow jump shot. His release is slower than it needs to be, and at times he appeared to lack an elite first step off the dribble. When he did create some space, he was easily able to elevate, both on his jumper and while attacking the rim. He has excellent size at 6’5 with a 6’9 wingspan which should allow him to defend multiple positions at the next level.
Up next: Oklahoma will travel to Waco, TX to take on the (15-7) Baylor Bears. Texas Tech travels to Stillwater, OK to face the Cowboys of Oklahoma State.