After trailing by as many as eight and entering the locker room down four, Texas Tech managed to come back in the second half to put away Oklahoma. The win vaulted the Red Raiders to sole possesion of first in the conference, and gave the team their eighth ranked win in 10 tries at the United Supermarkets Arena under Chris Beard.
The first 20 minutes of the game involved a lot of inconsistent play from the Red Raiders, as they had multiple possessions resulting in last second heaves, and also allowed the Sooners to hit an unusually high 36% from three. OU out-rebounded Tech by nine, and generally looked like the better team. Davide Moretti hit two threes and dropped a dime underneath to Norense Odiase to put Tech ahead 8-0 early, however over the next 16 minutes the Sooners would outscore the Red Raiders 35-19. Jarrett Culver would keep Tech in the game, scoring four straight points to end the half to put up 12 total first half points.
The second half would begin with Oklahoma upping their margin to seven. Tech would rebound, and after Davide Moretti put in two free throws off a flagrant, Tech would never trail by more than five. The Red Raiders would take a lead off a Brandone Francis three, and would never trail again. After being tied at 51, Jarrett Culver would go off, scoring nine of the team’s last 15 points. A couple late threes kept OU in it, however Texas Tech’s poise showed up, as the Red Raiders went 17-17 on the night from the free throw line, thus hitting all their clutch free throws, to pull away and ultimately win 66-59. Oklahoma made only eight baskets in the second half, as the Red Raiders outscored the Sooners 35-24 in the last 20 minutes.
Jarrett Culver ended the night with 23 points and 13 rebounds, finishing with his first double-double on the season, while Davide Moretti joined him in double figures with a third consecutive game with 12+ points and 2 made threes. Brandone Francis had eight crucial second half points, while Norense Odiase pitched in a season high eight points. On the flip side Matt Mooney had his fifth straight game with multiple turnovers, while Kyler Edwards had his second game of the conference season with no points.
Player of the Game: Brandone Francis
In most cases Jarrett Culver would get this award for the 23 points and 13 rebounds he put up last night, however Brandone Francis was vital in putting Texas Tech ahead in this game. Francis came into the night in a horrendous slump, only connecting on one of his last sixteen three point attempts. He hit two critical threes to put Tech on top for the first time in the second half, and generally played with much more poise than some of his recent outings. As someone who has been somewhat worried about Francis and his lack of success this season (he came in shooting under 33% from the field and 23% from three), it was a huge relief to have Brandone go off. If Francis and Kyler Edwards are hitting their shots consistently off the bench, this Texas Tech team could elevate itself to a national championship contender.
Texas Tech (14-1, 3-0): At Texas, Saturday January 12th, 1:00 P.M.