Result :: Win : 75-65 : SB Nation Box Score
Record :: 14-5, 2-3
Big 12 Standings :: 8th (tied)
Up Next :: Texas Longhorns : 17-2, 3-1
The Result :: Surprised. Oklahoma was at a severe disadvantage when SG Willie Warren was out, but that's not Texas Tech's fault. Despite not having their best player, OU was ahead at halftime and the Red Raiders went on an excellent scoring streak, hitting 16 of 31 shots from the floor, including 7 of 9 from beyond the three-point line. Not only that, the team rebounded the ball better in the second half, grabbing 17 boards, 7 of them offensive, to Oklahoma's 14 boards and only 3 offensive rebounds. A pretty nice effort by this group, with the biggest problem being consistency on offense for an entire game. The key of course is that in this game, is that the defense showed up for both halves. That's the difference in the game, not the fact that the offense got hot, but rather that the Red Raiders held OU to 32.4% from the field in the first half, but also held the Sooners to only 42.9% in the second half on 21 shots (compare this to the fact that Texas Tech was able to get off 31 shots in the second half).
The Storylines ::
Do Not Fall in Love with the Three: SF Mike Singletary and SG David Tairu were great in the second half. Singletary was 6 of 8 from the floor, including 3 of 3 from the three-point line. Similarly, Tairu was 3 of 5 from the floor and 3 of 4 from the three-point line. I think it's great that both of these guys got their groove on in the second half, but it's imperative that neither of these players start relying on that three-point shot. Even after Singletary's 3 of 3 performance, he's still only shooting 28.6% from beyond the arc. Singletary can be a terrific scorer when he's getting the ball, I just think it's absolutely imperative that he not start thinking that he's a three-point shooter on a regular basis. Singletary is better suited taking advantage of players inside and I'd still like to see him develop some shot inside that's tough to defend and get fouled rather than settle for a three. Tairu on the other hand looked like he hadn't missed a beat after sitting out the Iowa St. game with the flu and I'll say the same thing about Tairu. I think he's a better player when he takes advantage of this mid-range game and keeps the defense on their toes.
Hedging the Defense: OU tried multiple times to set a screen with Darko Cohadarevic's man setting the screen and every time, Darko would hedge the guard out a little further and then eventually fall back to his man. I think this worked pretty well, especially with Gallon who's nimble and a huge target, but still isn't quite adept at running a quality pick-and-roll. As a result, I think the defense was that much better and the help defense played pretty well as well. For the Sooners, that's the difference in having Warren and not having Warren in that I think if he plays, that pick-and-roll is much tougher to defend with a guy like Warren that can get to the rim. I don't think this works against Texas and as a result, PK is going to have to be creative in how he covers a dangerous Longhorn team.
Ailing Post Players: Perhaps I've just missed it, but I had no idea that D`walyn Roberts had an injured ankle, which is one of the reasons why his minutes have decreased as of late. In any event, despite the fact that Roberts only received 8 minutes last night, I though his defensive play on a couple of key plays down the stretch were key to putting this game away. In any event, if Roberts is injured, I think it really hurts this team's chances against teams like Texas and Texas A&M, the Red Raiders next two opponents. I'd also add that if PK did all of us a favor by resting Roberts by limiting his minutes against Oklahoma, then consider this small gamble a success. Even without Roberts, it can be tough to watch Darko go 1 of 5 from the floor, but at the very least he is contributing on the boards, grabbing 8 for the night. Right now, Singletary is doing most of the heavy lifting on the rebounding side, notching a double-double last night, and you're seeing guys like Brad Reese contribute inside, which is nice to have a player that can do a little bit of everything.
The MVP :: SG David Tairu: It would have been easy to give it to Singletary, who was really effective with 24 points and 10 boards, I thought that Tairu's game was incredibly efficient with 18 points on only 9 shots. That's pretty amazing in terms of scoring efficiency, and with Roberson having an off night, it was good to see Tairu step up and take and hit some big shots. If Tairu could hit his free-throws (only 5 of 9) then he would have had over 20 points. Taitur also finished with 5 boards, 1 steal, no assists and 1 turnover for the night.
Four Factors, Player Impact and Game Flow: I love these graphs from StatSheet and I hope you do too: